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EHRs named a top health IT hazard because of data quality concerns

Paul Newman Archive
The healthcare industry is emerging from an era characterized by medical charts and paper-based health records and entering into a technology-driven time in which physicians can qualify for government incentives by adopting IT tools such as electronic health records (EHRs). While those systems offer a number of benefits, they can cause significant problems if healthcare providers do not also implement appropriate data quality measures.

According to a recently released ECRI Institute study, EHRs are included on the list of top 10 IT hazards because of data quality concerns. The automated documentation systems are being pushed for their potential to reduce reporting errors, but they can perpetuate errors even further than paper charts if they aren't used appropriately, the report explains.

This is because inaccurate information can be spread through duplication across a technology platform, whereas a handwritten mistake is printed just once, the study explained. Another potential issue can arise when doctors use EHRs to achieve interoperability goals; i.e. transmitting patients' health records between doctors and facilities to make care more seamless. If doctors fail to close one patient's records completely before opening another's, they might mistakenly enter data in the wrong chart.