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Hospital clinicians’ EHR 'workarounds' pose risk to patient safety and quality, study finds

March 11, 2019 / Heather Landi

Frustrated with the design and usability of inpatient electronic health record (EHR) systems, hospital care teams frequently use handwritten notes and verbal comments to communicate patient information, posing a threat to patient safety and the quality of care, a study finds. In a recent study published in PLOS, researchers found widespread frustration and concerns among hospital clinicians about the design and usability of EHRs, particularly with the handoff process. Care teams also voiced frustration with how information is accessed and presented in EHRs. The study, which focused on the use of an Epic EHR system at a major teaching hospital, also found a high degree of variance in how clinicians use EHRs during morning rounds—most used the EHR before entering the patients’ room but only sometimes in the room. Only about half of attending clinicians, residents, interns and physician assistants use the EHR after leaving the patients’ room, the study found.