Safety Value of Electronic Health Records Called Into Question

The Clinical Advisor is featuring a new article which questions the efficacy of electronic health records in limiting or eliminating medical errors. Ann W. Latner, a former criminal defense attorney and now a freelance medical writer, claims that electronic health records won’t solve the nation’s medical error problem. Latner writes, “Many health policy advocates contend that electronic health records (EHRs) might be the answer to patient safety problems, but findings from a recent study show this may not be the case. Even with EHRs, medical errors still occur, but tend to be “near misses” and “close calls.”
Latner notes that the recent Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority Report confirms her conclusions.
Yet, medical errors are a multi-faceted issue involving human prudential judgments, technology, training, and education. It would seem naive to think one facet such as electronic health records could solve a complex problem.