For accurate heart attack detection, linked EHRs are key

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Failure to use patients' linked electronic health records may lead to biased estimates of heart attack incidence and outcome, a new study published in the British Medical Journal finds.

In the study, 21,482 patients with acute mycocardial infarction were identified in four linked EHRs. The researchers found that the crude incidence of acute myocardial infarction was underestimated by 25-50 percent when one source was used rather than three.

The study found that primary care records were the most complete source of non-fatal myocardial infarction records, hospital records missed one third, and a disease registry missed almost half.

"It is a concern that electronic records from one part of the health system, such as primary care, may not capture health events occurring in other parts of the health system, such as hospital care," the authors wrote. 

Meanwhile, researchers recently found hospitals in the U.S. tend to over-report death from heart disease, when a simple intervention can help find the cause of death. In this case, hospitals were able to reduce their reports of heart disease causing death from 69 percent to 32 percent.

To learn more:
- read the study

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