Exploring Strategies for Enhancing Electronic Health Records and Reducing Disparities in Healthcare Delivery
Killmaster, Meghan A.
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As my experience for my Senior Integrated Project (SIP), I completed an internship at the Colorado Institute in Biostatistics (CoSIBS) in Denver, Colorado, during the summer of 2022. I was part of a selective cohort of undergraduate and graduate students participating in an intensive seven-week program sponsored by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI). I worked with a team of students to employ supervised machine learning and a variety of statistical methods to complete a research project evaluating electronic health records (EHRs). We focused on person-centered narratives in EHRs with the goal of identifying how implementing personal narratives for patients with life-limiting illnesses can affect the overall patient experience to improve psychological, emotional and general well-being. From the research, I learned that EHRs have the potential to greatly improve the efficiency and quality of healthcare delivery but their implementation has also resulted in disparities in access and outcomes for some patient populations. A literature review was conducted to explore strategies for enhancing EHRs and reducing these disparities. The review identified several key themes, including the importance of user-centered design, the need for training and support for healthcare professionals, and the role of interoperability in improving EHRs. Additionally, the review found that addressing social determinants of health and engaging patients in their own care can be effective in reducing disparities. Overall, the review suggests that a multifaceted approach is necessary to fully realize the benefits of EHRs while also addressing disparities in healthcare.