Safety test results for electronic health record systems

A study published in the JAMA Network Open revealed that electronic health record systems used by hospitals in Texas and across the nation vary widely in safety performance. The group of doctors conducting the study used data compiled over a 10 year period by the Leapfrog Group. The compilation of data measures EHR safety results in American hospitals.

The safety test simulated orders that previously resulted in death, injuries, or medical malpractice lawsuits. The goal is to assess the ability of EHR systems to detect dangerous errors in medication orders. The study also evaluates how the safety capabilities of the systems have changed over the years.

The research showed about a 12 percent increase in the mean test scores from 53.9 to 65. 6 percent. The mean score for hospitals showed a rise from 69.8 to 85.6 percent in categories that involve support for clinical decisions. For advanced clinical decision-making categories, a mean score increase from 29.6 to 46.1 percent took place over the period studied. The research also showed test performance varied between the EHR systems sold by different vendors.

Researchers conclude the safety of EHR systems has improved modestly over the study period. The doctors also conclude EHR systems fail to meet minimum safety requirements more than 70 percent of the time. The researchers feel this level of performance is not sufficient to detect and prevent errors that can represent a potential danger for patients.

Patients often place their complete trust in medical professionals when a medical emergency or illness occurs. And while this trust is often well-placed, there are times when an error in procedure or judgment by a doctor can result in significant problems for the patient. Individuals negatively affected by mistakes or negligence on the part of hospital personnel may benefit from a consultation with a medical malpractice attorney.