Documentation in paper records more accurate than in EHRs, study finds

When it comes to clinical documentation, physicians tended to chart more accurately on paper records than in the EHR in one study published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. However, EHR documentation tended to be more thorough.

Researchers retrospectively analyzed 500 progress notes from Beaumont Hospital – Royal Oak (Mich.), some completed on paper prior to the hospital's transition to an EHR July 1, 2012, and the rest from the EHR.

They found EHRs had a 24.4 percent rate of inaccurate documentation, compared to 4.4 percent on paper charts. However, complete physical examination findings were omitted from 41.2 percent of paper notes, compared to being omitted from 17.6 percent of EHR notes.

"Further research is needed to identify training methods and incentives that can reduce inaccuracies in EHRs during initial implementation," researchers concluded.

More articles on EHRs:

Do physicians really experience a satisfaction 'J-curve' with EHRs? 
Mayo study links EHRs with physician burnout 
4 in 10 physicians use workarounds in EHRs 

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