Ways to Improve Electronic Health Record Safety

Electronic Health Record Safety

There is consensus that EHR is safe for patients. New research shows that adopting electronic health records does not hurt patient safety, but skeptics might wonder how much EHRs help.

Benefits of EHR inlude:

  • Access to Patient Data from Anywhere
  • Enhanced Data Sharing Among Providers
  • Reduced Repeat Testing and Procedures
  • Preventing Medical Errors
  • Less Time Spent on Paperwork
  • Fewer Malpractice Claims

But at the same time, managing data is challenging because it needs to be safe long-term. 

Here are some common reasons EHR is not working for patient safety:

  1. Patient identification issues: If it needs to be clarified which patient the record belongs to. 
  2. Alert fatigue: If staff get so used to clicking past alerts, they miss important ones.
  3. Incomplete data: If there needs to be more information or correct information in the record. 
  4. Test issues: if test results are passed on to the right person or if people need to remember to follow up on them. 
  5. A disservice: a disconnect between EHR system configuration and office workflows.
  6. Too much tech: if providers and office staff need more training on how to use the system.

Let’s now talk about how we can address EHR Safety. 

So What is a Solution to Improve EHR Safety?

1. Technology: Create a user-friendly EHR for users on both sides

There is a connection between how user-friendly a hospital’s electronic health records are and patient safety. This way, hospitals will be more likely to prioritize usability so that patients can receive high-quality and safe care. For example, we designed a program for research that allows patients and their doctors to monitor asthma symptoms remotely, using a computer and an app, while still allowing the patient to use their electronic medical records. We found that patients and providers have different requirements that need to be met. We also found that additional standards are required for PRO displays and EHR inbox APIs to make it easier to spread the intervention.

2. Regulatory: regular checks for safety

CMS (the government agency that approves health IT purchases) could decide how often health IT (software that helps doctors and nurses record and keep track of patient information) should be tested for safety. They could also choose how to test the specific changes that healthcare providers make to the software because the original company has yet to test them.

3. Legal and Ethical Issues: Respect user data

Once the technical work is done, you run into legal, ethical, and moral issues about what is okay to do with somebody else’s data. And that requires strong governance. On top of that, you should consider data as different sets: imaging data, EHR data, waveform data, and genomics data, and all of it deserves separate problem-solving.

So What’s Next?

Privacy is essential to human dignity. It allows us to live our lives without fear that we will be judged or ridiculed, and it allows us to make decisions without fear of consequence.

Privacy facilitates fundamental values, such as personal autonomy (the ability to make personal decisions), individuality, respect, and dignity as human beings.

Secure data privacy is important to prevent identity theft and security breaches. Hospitals and doctors should take proper security measures to protect their patient’s health information. If a security breach leaks sensitive information about a patient, it can cause them a lot of harm. If you are ready to improve your EHR safety, reach out to us for a quick call.

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