Publication Details

Yu, P., Jiang, T., Hailey, D., Ma, J. & Qian, S. (2020). The contribution of electronic health records to risk management through accreditation of residential aged care homes in Australia. BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making, 20 (1),


© 2020 The Author(s). Background: The Australian government has implemented a compulsory aged care accreditation system to guide and monitor the risk management approach in registered residential aged care (RAC) homes. This research assessed the contribution of electronic health records (EHR) to risk management in RAC homes in relation to the extent that aged care accreditation fulfils its role. Methods: A convenience sample of 5560 aged care accreditation reports published from 2011 to 2018 was manually downloaded from the Accreditation Agency web site. A mixed-method approach of text data mining and manual content analysis was used to identify any significant differences in failure to meet accreditation outcomes among the RAC homes. This took account of whether EHR or paper records were used, year of accreditation, and size and location of the homes. Results: It appears that aged care accreditation was focused on structure and process, with limited attention to outcome. There was a big variation between homes in their use of measurement indicators to assess accreditation outcomes. No difference was found in outcomes between RAC homes using EHR and those using paper records. Only 3% of the RAC homes were found to have failed some accreditation outcomes. Failure in monitoring mechanism was the key factor for failing many accreditation outcomes. The top five failed outcomes were Human Resource Management, Clinical Care, Information Systems, Medication Management and Behavioural Management. Conclusions: Sub-optimal outcomes have limited the effectiveness of accreditation in driving and monitoring risk management for care recipient safety in RAC homes. Although EHR is an important structure and process component for RAC services, it made a limited contribution to risk management for accreditation in Australian RAC homes. Either EHR was not effective, or the accreditation process was not robust enough to recognize its influence. Aged care accreditation in Australia needs to develop further outcome-based measures that are supported by robust data infrastructure and clear guidance.



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