Federal Regulators Increase Focus on Patient Risks From Electronic Health Records

Ben Moscovitch at Pew: “…The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) will collect clinicians’ feedback through a survey developed by the Urban Institute under a contract with the agency. ONC will release aggregated results as part its EHR reporting program. Congress required the program’s creation in the 21st Century Cures Act, the wide-ranging federal health legislation enacted in 2016. The act directs ONC to determine which data to gather from health information technology vendors. That information can then be used to illuminate the strengths and weaknesses of EHR products, as well as industry trends.

The Pew Charitable Trusts, major medical organizations and hospital groups, and health information technology experts have urged that the reporting program examine usability-related patient risks. Confusing, cumbersome, and poorly customized EHR systems can cause health care providers to order the wrong drug or miss test results and other information critical to safe, effective treatment. Usability challenges also can increase providers’ frustration and, in turn, their likelihood of making mistakes.

The data collected from clinicians will shed light on these problems, encourage developers to improve the safety of their products, and help hospitals and doctor’s offices make better-informed decisions about the purchase, implementation, and use of these tools. Research shows that aggregated data about EHRs can generate product-specific insights about safety deficiencies, even when health care facilities implement the same system in distinct ways….(More)”.