Study highlights the benefits of implementing EHRs in correctional facilities

December 21, 2014

Girish Navani, CEO and co-founder of eClinicalWorks, says while some states are only starting to find the need for digital health records, 12 New York City correctional facilities successfully implemented EHRs and showed positive results, as outlined in a study published in the Health and Human Rights Journal. The use of EHRs in these twelve facilities helped to improve care for patients in jails as well as those that are mentally ill. This study states that EHRs not only track health issues and clinical outcomes, but also help obtain information related to abuse, neglect and other human rights concerns. Researchers of this study implemented a system that modified "admission intakes, sick call, medical emergencies, infirmary care, medication dispensation, hemodialysis, newborn nursery, mental health encounters and solitary confinement rounds." After a three-year rollout of the system, "The EHR is used for all aspects of medical, mental health and discharge planning services, amounting to approximately 30,000 documented patient encounters every month." Other research has shown additional benefits of implementing digital health systems in jail including the reduction of healthcare spending by these prisons which has increased over the years. Pew Charitable Trusts reports that the increase in spending in jail systems is caused by growing inmate populations, challenges of delivering healthcare in prisons and the prevalence of infectious and chronic diseases, mental illness and substance abuse among inmates. To address these challenges, Pew researchers believe that employing electronic health technologies can help facilitate inmates' access to care and reduce the cost involved with guarding and transportation costs.