NIST: 'Copy and paste' function can lead to errors in EHRs

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Overuse of the "copy and paste" function in EHRs may compromise the accuracy of patient data, according to a National Institute of Standards and Technology report.

NIST — working with ECRI and the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command's Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center — conducted a usability study of the "copy and paste" function in EHRs.

Study participants, who were all physicians and nurses at Arlington, Va.-based Fors Marsh Group, reported concerns about the accuracy, attribution and relevance of information that has been copied and pasted from one medical record to another.

"A common error in the use of 'copy and paste' function is that users forget to properly review and edit all of the information they have copied and pasted," the report notes.

NIST suggests two main recommendations to address these issues:

  • Provide a mechanism to make "copy and paste" material easily identifiable, so that providers are aware this information has been reused
  • Ensure the source material is noted, so that clinicians are aware of the origin of this information, along with who has copied and edited it

Click here to view more of the report's findings.

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