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IT Tools for Chronic Disease Management: How Do They Measure Up?

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Chronic disease management systems (CDMS) focus specifically on managing chronic disease and preventive care, while the more comprehensive electronic medical record (EMR) documents the entire patient encounter and provides real-time patient information. Few, if any, studies, have compared the merits of these two tools, which show potential to reduce costs and improve outcomes for patients with chronic illnesses. IT Tools for Chronic Disease Management: How Do They Measure Up? assesses them side by side. In conducting the research, a range of CDMS and EMR vendors were asked to provide product demonstrations, specifications, and price quotes. Various criteria were used to score the products and vendors according to product function, corporate qualifications, services, and technology. Subsequently, participants at a CHCF-sponsored conference on chronic disease care viewed demonstrations of the products and rated them. This report reveals strengths and weaknesses with both systems. CDMSs rate highly for functionality, are significantly less expensive than EMRs, and are typically easier to implement; while EMRs rate highly in offering more robust technology systems and vendor capabilities.