Health IT data mismatches, often caused by mix-ups within electronic health record systems, will be a concern for patients and providers in 2013, according to a report released by the ECRI Institute. Technology is often to blame for such errors, with EHR system design a likely cause, though human error is still a factor in some cases.
Selecting the proper EHR system is the first step in reducing the number of data inaccuracies. Ensuring that only certified professionals can access an EHR system and interoperability with other EHR systems are two areas to consider when making an EHR selection. Providing only qualified people with access to patient data and organizing workflow by determining who is responsible for entering and updating data can cut down the number of data mix-ups.
Single sign-on technology is an option for health care facilities that wish to ease the access process for care providers, which ultimately affects their patients. Limiting the number of barriers to access between patients and providers will make for less confusion for providers by limiting the amount of data they have to remember. Faster access to the both the physical facilities and digital data gives health care professionals more time to focus on treatment of patients.
Accurate patient identification has been considered a key step of EHR implementation. The number of mistakes made during patient data entry after an EHR system is installed will be reduced through preparation of employees prior to the installation. Carefully entering data and double-checking patient info will save time for other facilities that may provide care for a patient in the future.
Universal patient identifiers are an option that could clear up any patient ID or EHR confusion. Implementing a proposed system that would designate a unique 28 digit and one period ID to Americans has run into challenges at local and national levels. Critics have objected to the cost of maintaining such a system. A unique ID would give health care facilities instant access to patient data, something that could prove vital in an urgent, life or death, scenario.