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Electronic health records and patient safety

Most people in Louisiana have likely been to a doctor’s office in the past several years where the nurse, physician’s assistant or physician may have entered notes into a computer as they were meeting with the patient. The increased use of electronic health records by medical providers has been touted as one way to reduce errors and improve patient safety. This may be possible but that does not mean these systems come without some risks or potential drawbacks.

As explained by Healthcare IT News, one concern with the implementation of electronic health record systems is the pace at which they are implemented. If an organization attempts to change too many facets of the recordkeeping system at once, it may actually increase the likelihood that mistakes will be made. This is due in part to the natural human aversion to change. It is therefore recommended that facilities find ways to phase in the use of these systems so that users develop a comfort level with before adding in more new elements.

Becker’s Hospital Review highlights other concerns with these systems, one of which being that the reliance on technology to communicate may lead to a reduction in the number of live conversations providers have with each other. These live, face-to-face or phone conversations may well be critical to effective communication about a patient’s condition. Technology should enhance but not replace other forms of communication.

Another problem that occurs with electronic health records results from the fact that there are multiple systems available and they may not always be compatible with each other. This may preclude the benefit of allowing multiple facilities to access a patient’s records.





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