Researchers looking to link electronic medical records

Anastazia Vanisko, Staff Reporter

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It isn’t uncommon to send patients with severe conditions to nearby hospitals with better facilities to help them survive. Researchers at CWRU’s Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing noticed something odd, though: Patients who actually have less severe conditions but are still transferred experienced higher death rates than those who had stayed put. Andrew Reimer, a KL2 Scholar instructor at the Dorothy Ebersbach Academic Center for Flight Nursing at the nursing school, was particularly interested in this topic.

As the researchers began to investigate, however, they realized that technicalities contributed to this problem. Different hospitals make different records, and flight crews in charge of transporting patients do not use the same operating systems or organize information the same way, making Reimer’s endeavor difficult. Born out of this issue was a new project: Reimer now works with CWRU engineers and biostatisticians to develop a system that will overcome the communication difficulties and gather information from patient files.