Do you understand the issues around the implementation of an EHR within a healthcare organization or provider practice? They can profoundly affect patient safety through electronic health records safety. Informatics knowledge will position you for a greater understanding of the scope and breadth of potential electronic health records safety errors and risks associated with an EHR implementation.
Healthcare Information Technology (HIT) such as the integration of electronic health records (EHR) is intended to enhance clinical management and documentation of care. But does it?
Usability of electronic health records
is defined as the ease in which an end user learns and uses HIT such an EHR (Ong, 2015). Usability is also applicable to how efficiently an EHR performs.
Usability engineering is an important aspect that healthcare organizations must consider to ensure electronic health records safety and risk reduction. Leaders have to consider the level of difficulty that end users such as physicians and clinicians will encounter to maximize efficiency and compliance with documentation standards.
Complexity affects electronic health records safety
However, the complexity that surrounds EHR design, development, integration and utilization may affect electronic health records safety. They may increase the incidence of certain types of errors or produce new safety risks that contribute to patient harm. Threats to patient safety can occur at any phase of the EHR planning, designing, building process, testing, implementing, training, operating, and maintaining.
There are a lot of steps that affect electronic health records safety!
Integration of HIT initiatives requires vigilance to details, planning, collaboration, communication and skill. Breakpoints that increase risk can be classified into those involving people, processes, technology, and environmental. As a Legal Nurse Consultant it is important for you to be able to identify these breakpoints in order to understand the impact on quality and patient safety.
Learn about the vulnerabilites of an EHR by joining Dr. Becky Rufo, who wrote this article, and Pat Iyer for a webinar: Electronic Health Records: Are They Safe? Watch the digital download.
Becky Rufo DNSC RN CCRN has served in a system leadership role for 6 Electronic Health Record implementations in a large Chicago health system. She led the implementation efforts of 2 different Tele-ICUs in large Chicago health systems and received national recognition for excellence. She is an Associate Professor in a Graduate Nursing Program in Nursing Informatics. Dr. Rufo has 30 years nursing experience related to clinical, leadership, organizational development, education, and informatics and achieved national recognition in publications, presentations and won 2 awards for excellence in Telemedicine.
Ong, K. (2015). Medical Informatics, An Executive Primer Second Edition. Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS). Chicago, Illinois.