Doctors make more note-taking mistakes with EHRs than paper records, JAMIA study finds

New research published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association research found that inaccuracies within electronic health records are significantly higher than those in paper records. 
By Jack McCarthy
07:58 AM

A study of medical reporting at a Michigan hospital found that doctors’ progress notes in the initial implementation of electronic health records contained more inaccuracies compared to paper charts.

The Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association report found that the rate of inaccurate documentation was significantly higher in the EHRs compared to the paper charts: 24.4 percent versus 4.4 percent. 

Researchers examined initial progress notes of patients admitted to Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan between August 2011 and July 2013. They reviewed 500 notes, some before implementation of the EHR in 2012 and some after implementation, and examined five specific diagnoses with invariable physical findings: permanent atrial fibrillation, aortic stenosis, intubation, lower limb amputation and cerebrovascular accident with hemiparesis. 

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“Further research is needed to identify training methods and incentives that can reduce inaccuracies in EHRs during initial implementation,” the study concluded.

Indeed, JAMIA also uncovered evidence that the incoming generation of doctors are less prone to making note-taking mistakes in EHRs and, in fact, residents had a significantly lower rate of inaccuracies than attending physicians. 

What’s more, residents overall had fewer inaccuracies (5.3 percent v. 17.3 percent) and omissions (16.8 percent v. 33.9 percent) than attending physicians.

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Clinical, EHRs
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