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Errors with electronic health records vary across systems

Jul 17, 2018 | Medication Errors

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association indicates that the reliability and usefulness of electronic health records may vary widely across different systems. EHR error rates also varied among the different tasks physicians were asked to perform, and were as high as 50 percent for certain tasks. That could be important information for New York patients.

The study collected input data from keystrokes, video and mouse clicks. Two different EHR platforms, Cerner and Epic, were used across four different health care systems. Emergency medicine doctors were asked to complete different ordering scenarios via EHR. Between 12 and 15 doctors from each of the sites went through two laboratory, two medication and two diagnostic imaging tasks.

The study cited as possible reasons for the errors confusing layouts and screens that have extraneous information, alerts of irrelevant information that interrupt workflow and redundant or burdensome workflow sequences. The author of the study said errors in medication, labs and imaging might be attributable to the way the systems are implemented, developed and designed. A number of decisions are made by health care providers during the implementation of a new EHR system, but the providers may not have the knowledge or the time at that point to properly make those decisions. A second problem is an inability among vendors to communicate best practices for implementation of EHR.

People who are injured as a result of prescription medication errors or other EHR mistakes may be entitled to compensation for lost wages, pain and suffering, medical expenses or other damages. An attorney with experience in medical malpractice law might be able to help by examining the facts of the case and identifying the party or parties that might bear responsibility.