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Tips for preserving data quality in EHRs

Rachel Wheeler Archive

Electronic health records (EHRs) are expected to improve the healthcare industry in a number of ways, namely decreased costs, improved efficiency and better patient outcomes. As primary care providers and hospitals make the transition from paper charts to electronic documents, they are also expected to generate a vast amount of data.

There is great potential in that data to glean valuable insight into health trends, such as correlations in patient populations of which doctors were previously unaware, as well as the ability to predict the spread of infectious diseases by tracking down the contagion sources.

However, there is also risk for data quality errors in the deployment of EHRs. According to Becker's ASC, the top four preventable mistakes include entering information into the wrong patient's record, duplicating incorrect data, ignoring alarms and sacrificing relationships with patients. Mistakes stemming from these issues can lead to doctors compromising patients' safety should they administer the wrong medication or neglect to note a serious allergy.

Fortunately, there are simple fixes that can help doctors reduce the likelihood of such errors. One is to double-check every piece of information before it's entered into the records, according to EHR Intelligence. The second is to use data quality tools that can search for duplicated data sets, missing content or inaccurate entries.