Ridding EHRs of dangerous, often undetectable, bad data

March 14, 2015 in Medical Technology

As the healthcare industry continues toward its goal of making all patient health records electronically accessible, a health system’s safety increasingly is determined by the quality of its EHR implementation.

Last November ECRI Institute, a non-profit organization that uses scientific methods to test medical products, rated “incorrect or missing data in electronic health records and other health IT systems” as the No. 2 hazard that will put patients at risk in 2015.

“Once inaccurate data gets into the electronic health record, it’s hard to get it out,” said Ronni Solomon, executive vice president and general counsel for ECRI Institute. “That’s a challenge, and the less detectable it is, the higher the risk. You don’t know it’s in there.”

The negative impact of bad data in electronic health records is both immediate and long-lasting.

“In the short-run, bad data in the system limits the effectiveness of clinical communications and the effectiveness of decision support,” added William Marella, ECRI’s executive director, PSO operations and analytics. “And basically it undermines people’s confidence in the system.”

Solomon and Marella will conduct an educational session at HIMSS15 in April on how healthcare organizations can apply safety science to IT and informatics to improve patient safety.

“Would You Bet Your Mother’s Life on the Safety of Your EHR?” is designed to help attendees create a framework for planning and implementing IT strategies, processes and tools to increase the safety of healthcare patients.

Beyond the obvious imperative to better serve recipients of healthcare services, hospitals and other care providers are under pressure to more effectively leverage expensive IT systems purchased in recent years.

“The promise of these systems is that they’re going to make the health care system more efficient and ultimately more safe,” Marella said. “Now the administrators in hospitals and health systems that have financed these systems want a return on their investment.”

The session will cover how organizations can: establish an infrastructure for identifying and responding to patient safety problems; assess safety challenges facing health IT users and implementers; identify partnerships that can accelerate safety improvements; and analyze opportunities to use informatics to prevent adverse events.

“What we’re trying to do in this talk is get in front of the IT leaders of these institutions and help them understand where patient safety people are coming from and how we can bridge these two silos within the health system, because they will both be more effective working together,” Marella said.
Solomon added that the session should be especially valuable to “health IT leaders who have responsibility for safety.”

“Really, though,” she said, “it should be for every healthcare leader.”

“Would You Bet Your Mother’s Life on the Safety of Your EHR?” will be held Monday, April 13, at 1 p.m. in Room S401 of McCormack Place in Chicago.

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Article source: http://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/ridding-ehrs-dangerous-often-undetectable-bad-data

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