As EHR use grows, new patient safety risks identified

Connected coverage — selected articles on trends, challenges and controversies in the changing world of medicine.

Posted Feb. 25, 2013

Print  |   Email  |   Respond  |   Reprints  |   Like Facebook  |   Share Twitter  |   Tweet Linkedin

Electronic health records generally have been promoted as a positive for physicians and patients. But as EHRs become more common, unexpected glitches and issues that can affect the delivery of care become more apparent.

American Medical News has reported on what is causing these errors, and how physicians and others are trying to eliminate and mitigate them. Often the problem stems from wrong or incomplete information typed into the system. But sometimes the situation, exacerbated by human error, comes from characteristics of EHRs themselves.

EHRs: “Sloppy and paste” endures despite patient safety risk

Copying and pasting text within an EHR is endemic, as the technique often is used to save time in data entry. However, there are worries that, too frequently, copy-and-paste is done with little care and can end up creating inaccurate notes that could inadvertently lead to patient harm. There is consensus that copy-and-paste has its place, but the question is when it is appropriate, and how to ensure it doesn’t lead to treatment mistakes.

Read story

EHR-related errors soar but few harm patients

In one state, the number of reported errors due to hospital EHRs more than doubled between 2010 and 2011, the latest information available. Few, though, resulted in patient harm. Still, the results worry safety officials, who want to figure out how to reduce common problems such an incorrect input; missing, incorrect or lost data; display problems; and alert failures, which were among the most common reasons for errors.

Read story

More complex EHRs can result in declines of quality measures

Dartmouth College researchers found that the installation of EHRs can help patient safety. But it said the risks to patients increased when the systems became more complex. However, another study by a health technology group found no risk when EHRs were installed, and it surmises that the problems found in the Dartmouth study were temporary and related to the transition to new, more difficult EHRs.

Read story

Back to top



Read story

Confronting bias against obese patients

Medical educators are starting to raise awareness about how weight-related stigma can impair patient-physician communication and the treatment of obesity. Read story

Read story


American Medical News is ceasing publication after 55 years of serving physicians by keeping them informed of their rapidly changing profession. Read story

Read story

Policing medical practice employees after work

Doctors can try to regulate staff actions outside the office, but they must watch what they try to stamp out and how they do it. Read story

Read story

Diabetes prevention: Set on a course for lifestyle change

The YMCA's evidence-based program is helping prediabetic patients eat right, get active and lose weight. Read story

Read story

Medicaid's muddled preventive care picture

The health system reform law promises no-cost coverage of a lengthy list of screenings and other prevention services, but some beneficiaries still might miss out. Read story

Read story

How to get tax breaks for your medical practice

Federal, state and local governments offer doctors incentives because practices are recognized as economic engines. But physicians must know how and where to find them. Read story

Read story

Advance pay ACOs: A down payment on Medicare's future

Accountable care organizations that pay doctors up-front bring practice improvements, but it's unclear yet if program actuaries will see a return on investment. Read story

Read story

Physician liability: Your team, your legal risk

When health care team members drop the ball, it's often doctors who end up in court. How can physicians improve such care and avoid risks? Read story

  • Stay informed
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • LinkedIn