Senior Michael Franczak publishes study in the journal Health Affairs

Author: Stephanie Healey

Michael Franczak

Senior science preprofessional major Michael Franczak is the first author in a recently published paper, “In Emergency Departments, Radiologists’ Access To EHRs May Influence Interpretations and Medical Management.” The paper was published in the May issue of the journal Health Affairs on Monday (May 5).

Franczak was the principle investigator in the study which examined the importance of electronic health records (EHRs) in communicating vital patient information needed to interpret emergency head computed tomography (CT) scans more accurately in the emergency department (ED). In the study, three neuroradiologists analyzed 2,000 CT scans that had been ordered by emergency department physicians. The neuroradiologists compared the medical information generated by the ED physician to the additional information retrieved by radiologists who had full access to the patient’s EHR data.

The investigation was completed at the Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee under the guidance of Dr. John Ulmer, professor of radiology and chief of neuroradiology. Franczak was responsible for completing the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI), writing the protocol which needed to be reviewed and approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB), designing the project, and collecting and analyzing the data. The study was completed a the

The group found that without access to a patient’s EHR data, interpretations of the CT scans would have been flawed, resulting in adverse medical care in nine percent of patients.  Out of the 2,000 patients studied, over 170 patients would have been adversely affected by a lack of access to the full electronic medical record.  “Our results suggest that access to the EHR is necessary to radiologic decision-making in emergency department setting,” explained Franczak. “Health care providers must recognize the value of implementing EHR and the potential harm that may come from its absence.”

This research experience was especially meaningful to Franczak because of the results of his work can have real impact. “My research on the importance of EHRs provided tangible evidence that implementing change can truly improve the medical outcome for a significant number of patients,” he said.

Fanzcak will graduate this month and plans to teach at Marquette University High School in Milwaukee, Wis. through the Alumni Service Corps (ACS) program. He plans to attend medical school after a year of service with ACS.

Health Affairs is a leading journal of health policy that reaches a broad audience of government and health industry leaders, healthcare advocates, and healthcare scholars. The journal’s acceptance rate for unsolicited papers is 10-15 percent, further indicating the importance of Franczak’s study.