EHRs pose greater threat to patients in America, Sermo survey suggests

Most respondents from foreign countries report far fewer electronic health record dangers.
By Tom Sullivan
03:12 PM
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While it would appear obvious that any EHR downtime or outage would pose a significant threat to patient safety, a new survey suggests that is not the case in all countries.

Sermo, the social network for physicians, polled its international members and found that more than half indicated such an electronic health record malfunction has never jeopardized patient safety.  

That holds true among developed nations with public healthcare systems, including Canada, England, France and Germany, according to Sermo.

But that’s not so in the United States, where a majority of physicians indicated that EHR downtime has created health and safety issues for patients.

There’s a caveat, though: 1,678 of the total 3,086 respondents were in the United States, representing the biggest concentration of respondents.

The United States was not the only country among the 26 Sermo polled where more respondents suggested problematic EHRs create safety issues. Physicians in Denmark, Greece, Hungary, Poland, South Africa answering “yes” to the question outnumbered those saying “no,” though the number of respondents was very low.

Norway, meanwhile, saw an even split with one doctor answering in the affirmative and the other in the negative.

Here are the results:

Has an EMR/EHR outage or malfunction ever jeopardized the health or safety of a patient?

Country Yes No Number of respondents
Argentina 30% 70% 23
Australia 31% 69% 39
Austria 33% 67% 6
Canada 46% 54% 82
Colombia 33% 67% 9
Denmark 100% 0% 2
Finland 0% 100% 1
France 39% 61% 127
Germany 9% 91% 92
Greece 64% 36% 28
Hungary 100% 0% 2
Ireland 0% 100% 1
Israel 0% 100% 2
Italy 29% 71% 337
Mexico 37% 63% 147
Netherlands 33% 67% 9
Norway 50% 50% 2
Poland 63% 38% 16
South Africa 85% 15% 20
Spain 33% 67% 292
Sweden 0% 100% 3
Switzerland 0% 100% 2
United Arab Emirates 0% 100% 1
United Kingdom 46% 54% 106
United States 55% 45% 1678
Venezuela 37% 63% 59
Total 46% 54% 3086

Twitter: SullyHIT
Email the writer: tom.sullivan@himssmedia.com


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