Doctors with an EHR are more likely to report adverse events

By Molly Merrill
09:58 AM

Physicians are more likely to report drug safety information when using an electronic health record system, according to a recent survey.

The New York-based Pfizer pharmaceutical company released the survey, which was conducted by Ipsos, an independent market research company. The survey polled 300  primary care physicians in the United States who are categorized as basic EHR users, fully functional EHR users or paper health record users.Two-thirds of respondents used some form of an EHR system and one-third used a paper-based system.

Half of all respondents and 60 percent of fully-functional EHR users reported that they would be much more likely to submit information about adverse events using an EHR system. Of those still using paper-based systems, 80 percent cited cost as a deterrent to investing in an EHR system.

"Patient safety continues to be a top priority at Pfizer," said Freda Lewis-Hall, MD, Pfizer's chief medical officer. "This survey furthers our understanding about how we can best use electronic health records systems to collect critical information about the safe and appropriate use of our products so that we can improve patient safety."

Nearly 60 percent of physicians who responded to the survey said adverse event reporting through an EHR system would improve patient care.

Pfizer is collaborating with Boston-based Brigham and Women's Hospital and Partners Healthcare; CDISC, an international standards group; and the not-for-profit organization CRIX International to improve the quality of data in safety reports. Earlier this year, the group conducted the ASTER (Adverse Drug Event Spontaneous Triggered Event Reporting) study, allowing physicians to use EHRs to report adverse events directly to the Food and Drug Administration.

The group's goal is to use technology to create a new business model that aims at helping physicians better recognize and report adverse events.

"These survey results confirm what we saw in the Partners Healthcare ASTER study," said Jeffrey A. Linder, MD, an internist at Brigham and Women's Hospital. "The system we used in that study was well accepted by the participating physicians, who felt the adverse event reporting was unobtrusive and who saw the public health potential of this type of reporting. While most of the participating clinicians submitted no reports in the year prior to the study, they submitted hundreds of detailed reports during the five months of the study period."

Officials say the current adverse event reporting process can take physicians as long as 40 minutes to fill out required paperwork, but using an EHR would cut this down to a matter of minutes.

"Adverse event reports are a key component of our ongoing efforts in patient safety," said Lewis-Hall. "One critical goal is to increase the number and quality of the reports we receive. By making it easier and more convenient for doctors, we anticipate meeting this goal. ASTER is an impressive step in demonstrating how we can leverage EHRs to do just that."

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