Recent research suggests concerns over how electronic health records (EHRs) may affect patient safety may be overblown.
The report from researchers at Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA, addresses the concerns that have long been associated with EHRs. Some healthcare professionals have worried that the introduction of EHRs to a facility can hamper patient safety by slowing work flow as clinicians learn to use them. In addition, there has been concern about design faults and the inevitable technical problems.
The Harvard study acknowledges these concerns but comes down on the side of the EHRs. Unadjusted 30-day mortality did not change significantly in the study hospitals before and after EHR implementation. The average unadjusted 30-day mortality in the pre-implementation period was 6.74% , compared with 7.15% in the post-implementation, the report said. That small increase was not statistically significant.
The authors say they began the research expecting to see an increase in negative patient safety outcomes
“Contrary to that hypothesis, we found that before and after a discrete ‘go live’ date for EHR implementation across 17 hospitals, there was no evidence of a significant or consistent negative association between EHR implementation and short term mortality, readmissions, or adverse events,” the authors reported.
The study is available online at http://bit.ly/2aD1ah1.