Some ONC-certified EHRs present issues that could harm patient safety, analysis finds

EHR products that have been certified by the ONC Health IT Certification Program may be causing issues that could lead to patient harm, according to a Dec. 17 research letter published in JAMA.

Washington, D.C.-based MedStar Health researchers examined ONC records of surveillance on EHRs from January 2016 to January 2019. ONC may perform surveillance on EHR vendor products in response to a reported issue or by randomly selecting products for investigation, according to the report.

The research team found that almost 4 percent of all certified EHRs present an issue that could negatively impact patient safety. The problems vary, from issues such as failing to import lab test results into the EHR and errors in entering medication dosages.

Reactive surveillance unveiled "a big share" of the problems that were identified in the research, the letter's co-author Raj Ratwani, PhD, told Politico. "This is exactly why we need a safety reporting system," Dr. Ratwani said. "It would allow us to capture many of these safety issues and not just the ones related to the certification program."

Dr. Ratwani added that the problems discovered were linked to EHR products used by "hundreds of hospitals and thousands of provider organizations."

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