EMR problems can be reported on new website

Medical societies and government agencies will use the data to educate doctors about potential pitfalls.

By Pamela Lewis Dolan — Posted Nov. 30, 2010

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The iHealth Alliance has launched a website where physicians can report problems with their electronic medical record systems.

EHRevent, the online service, allows physicians to report problems immediately. Those accounts will be used to create reports to medical societies, liability carriers and government agencies, such as the Food and Drug Administration, which can use them to educate physicians about potential problems EMR systems may bring.

"Our experience indicated that [EMRs] have the capacity either to induce or reduce medical errors in very unique ways, and we have seen data that indicate that adoption may reduce physician liability," said Alan Lembitz, MD, vice president of patient safety and risk management for COPIC Insurance Co. "It will be increasingly important to understand best practices to improve patient safety for [EMRs] and for their users, and EHRevent will help both."

EHRevent will produce reports that detail the types of events that occur, the frequency of the events and the recommendations for best practices. EMR vendors and regional extension centers also will receive the reports.

"Electronic health records are being adopted at record rates and present an opportunity to advance patient care," said Nancy Dickey, MD, chair of the iHealth Alliance and former president of the American Medical Association. "As with any new system, there is a learning curve for the software providers and for the doctors who use these systems. EHRevent will help us all get smarter about [EMRs] and assure that patient-care advances are also patient-safe advances."

Physicians can submit event reports using a standard form on the EHRevent website (link).

Doctors will be asked to identify themselves, but they can choose whether their identity will be shared or kept confidential. Patient data will be kept private.

The iHealth Alliance, which also governs Physicians' Desk Reference Drug Alerts delivered through the Health Care Notification Network, is setting up a similar site to report adverse drug events. The site is set to launch in a few months.

The alliance is a nonprofit organization comprised of medical societies, including the AMA, and professional liability carriers.

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