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Is the Data in an Electronic Health Records System Accurate?

The accuracy rate for information contained within an electronic health records system (EHR) is only 50%. That is, only half that data can be assumed to be accurate – the rest is wrong.

A February 27th article in Modern Healthcare highlights some of the reasons why, within an Emergency Room (ER) setting at least-

• EHR systems are not User-Friendly

By the very nature of how electronic health records systems are designed, data entry is complicated and prone to error.

• User Error

In an ER, as in other parts of the healthcare industry, there is a heavy premium on a doctor and nurse’s time. They are often running between patients and working long hours in these stressful situations simply lends itself to errors in data entry.

• Lack of Interoperability

The lack of seamless interoperability between the various digital records systems in place within the medical community is a potential cause of error. Its not entirely uncommon for different departments within a hospital to have different systems that don’t always talk each other’s language.

One simply truth the article does miss, however, is that medical providers are not trained in the use and operation of IT systems. Not only are they not digital natives, often they are downright afraid of technology – at least modern day consumer tech.

While EHR and other Health IT systems do need to become more user-friendly, providers at all levels simply need more training in how to use, and navigate through the digital software. And, the overall industry needs time to figure out how to incorporate the digital records system into the day-to-day delivery of medical care.

The hope is that with this time & experience, issues impacting the accuracy of electronic health records systems will get better – and before unsuspecting patients are significantly harmed.

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