Study: How many records can providers open at once in an EHR?

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Almost half of healthcare facilities surveyed said providers are able to open three or more patient records at once in their EHR system, according to recent research published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.

The researchers — led by Jason S. Adelman, MD, of Columbia University Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City — conducted a national survey of 167 hospitals and ambulatory sites to determine the number of records providers were allowed to have open at one time in their respective EHR systems.

The plurality of inpatient and outpatient facilities (44.3 percent) configured their EHR systems to allow providers to open three or more patient records at once. By contrast, 17.4 percent of facilities surveyed allowed providers to open two records at once and 38.3 percent allowed providers to open only one record at a time.

The respondents said the decision on whether to allow providers to open multiple patient records at once was a balance between patient safety and clinical efficiency. Safety experts recommend limiting the number of patient records providers open at a time to reduce the risk of documentation errors.

"Results demonstrate no consensus on the number of records to be allowed open at once in EHRs," the study authors concluded. "Rigorous studies are needed to determine the optimal number of records that balances safety and efficiency."

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