Wednesday, December 17, 2014

It Looks Like Using An EHR Can Cost Time But Also Reduce Errors To A Significant Degree.

These appeared a little while ago:

Doctors Say Electronic Records Waste Time

A new study shows that technology has slowed doctors' work.

By Kimberly Leonard Sept. 8, 2014 | 4:00 p.m. EDT + More
Doctors complain that they waste an average of 48 minutes a day, or four hours a week, when they record their patients’ health information into digital records, a new study shows.
The results were collected in a small survey, whose findings were put into a letter that was published Monday in the online edition of JAMA Internal Medicine. A draft of the letter was released Monday to a group of health care reporters at the National Library of Medicine. Dr. Clement McDonald, lead author of the study and director of the NLM Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications, presented the letter, “The Use of Internist's Free Time by Ambulatory Care Electronic Medical Record Systems.”
The findings came from a 19-question survey that the American College of Physicians sent in December 2012 to 900 ACP members and 102 non-members. They received a 53.6 percent response rate; respondents had used 61 different EMR systems.
The mean loss for trainees was lower than the average, at 18 minutes a day. “We can only speculate as to whether better computer skills, shorter (half-day) clinic assignments with proportionately less exposure to EMR time costs, or other factors account for the trainees’ smaller per-day time loss,” the study read.
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Proponents of electronic health records say they have the potential to reduce medical errors, better coordinate care, and save time. Some say the technology, however, hasn't reached that point. “It simply takes longer [to enter patient information into a computer]," says McDonald, who is a proponent of EHRs and was among a group which created the first system in the country. "There is already so much to do and you have to look at patient safety.” Deep consequences can come out of one typo, he adds, and adding another data point carries additional time cost.
McDonald expected the results from the study because he has heard complaints from doctors who said they were spending extra time with EHRs after work, he says.
The time lost, the letter points out, could decrease access to care, given the opportunity cost of meeting with a patient during that time. It also could increase the cost of care. “Policy makers should consider these time costs in future EHR mandates,” McDonald says.
The full article is here:
And to point out just why it might be worth it we have this.

ONC Data Brief: Physicians Report EHRs Prevent Medication Errors

September 5, 2014
Three times as many physicians report that electronic health records (EHRs) are preventing a potential medication error than causing one, according to a newly released data brief from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC).
The data brief used the 2013 National Ambulatory Medical Care Physician Workflow Survey to assess the physician-reported impacts of EHR use – both positive and negative – on quality and patient safety related outcomes. More than half of the approximately 11,000 physician respondents reported that the EHR alerted them to a critical laboratory value and 45 percent said it alerted them to a potential medical error. Only 15 percent said it led to a medical error.
See here:
So the bottom line is slower but better with the EHR. I hope it is really true!
David.

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