Electronic Health Records Won’t Erase All Medical Errors

While the industry’s steady progression toward electronic health records is generally a positive step in the right direction, it is not a cure all that will entirely eliminate medical errors. While EHRs do indeed eliminate errors arising from illegible handwriting, human transcription errors, and the misfiling of records. However, EHRs come with their own set of issues, according to an article published by the Digital Journal, “Unfortunately, EHRs have not worked exactly as planned. As these systems are still rather new, there have been challenges in developing software that fits the need of the end-users. Entering information can be a very time-consuming process, with doctors and physicians needing to learn proper codes for ailments and treatment plans. Additionally, there may be more of a potential for user error than with general medical records. Mistakes may be made when information is entered, for example, information from one patient could but copied and pasted into another patient’s file, and this may go unreported due to unfamiliarity with the systems. Further medical professionals may then rely on this incorrect information, which could have a serious impact on patients. EHRs also have the potential for overloading doctors and physicians. The systems can be set up to send alerts when major events are soon to occur, such as a prescription expiring, which could cause problems. Instead of checking in on lab reports or determining a patient’s progress, prescriptions could be automatically refilled or harmful treatment plans continued. Finally, EHRs are accessed using computer networks, which may result in unique challenges to medical facilities. Computer systems often suffer outages, leaving medical professionals unable to access a client’s information, which could prove costly in situations where time is of the essence. Patients may also have privacy concerns if their medical records are easily accessible to a large number of people at a health care facility. Access to EHRs will need to comply with all HIPAA rules.
Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/553920#ixzz1jv9kIRQY