Healthcare facilities can have access to real-time and patient-centered electronic health records (EHRs), thanks to the information technology that makes the patient information available to the authorized users instantly and securely. Although it is true that electronic health records have a tremendous impact on the workflow and quality of care provided, there are some complicated features of EHRs that develop some negative feelings in physicians. One area of concern in the implementation of EHRs is that the challenging features and outcomes of EHR systems may impact the practice’s clinical judgment as well. Here discussed are a few key areas that may be focused upon to save physicians and other healthcare staff from potential ethical errors due to inappropriate use of EHRs and documentation.
- Inaccurate data input:
- It is common for everyone to try shortcuts when faced with lengthy and tedious jobs. The same is with the EHRs because of the time-consuming and lengthy documentation of information. At times, physicians may miss some information while seeing a patient and to complete the procedure they may input some data on their own. Though this may serve the purpose at the moment, it may, later on, lead to issues in providing proper healthcare.
- Another threat to a facility due to inaccurate data input is facing serious and legal complications. False data entered into the EHRs remains so for the lifetime and the healthcare provided to the patient is affected by the wrong data. Clinical judgment based on such wrong data can result in detrimental problems for the practice.
- Considering old data: For the sake of convenience, many times data is copied and pasted from old records to the new records in the process of implementing EHR systems. Although this saves a lot of precious time, there are chances that old information that is not relevant may be considered while providing care and this may hamper the quality of care being provided.
- Healthcare support staff’s pain: In the process of implementing EHRs, there is a possibility that the support staff like nurses face distress due to the situation of being stuck between choosing a care procedure known to them or following the procedure triggered by the EHR solutions for certain symptoms. Generally, this kind of situation arises when the previous information of the patient contradicts the care suggestions of the EHRs.
- Personalized EHRs are not used: Another factor that results in ethical errors in facilities is the lack of personalized EHR solutions. Not having proper personalized systems leads to prevention of inputting data by physicians and other support staff as they deem the information to be fit for their facility and also makes it compulsory for the staff to input data that might not be relevant for them and drags the process for a longer duration.
- Ignoring triggers and alerts: Due to the constant flooding of patient information, physicians tend to ignore the pop-ups and alerts while they are inputting data and at times, this may prove to be detrimental to the quality of care being provided. Pop-ups and alerts are meant to be there for a purpose and when physicians ignore such things; they may be losing on inputting critical information or missing out on important alerts that are essential to provide good care to the patients.
Adopting the best EHR solutions is the perfect way a facility can avoid any kind of ethical errors and scope of wrong clinical judgments.