Reports of Errors with Electronic Medical Records

Article excerpt

To the Editor:

Thank you for addressing risks associated with use of electronic medical records (EMRs) (Cowan, 2013). Rapidly expanding use of health technology will bring a number of challenges. While the goal of EMRs is to promote communication between provi - ders, decrease medication errors, as well as decrease costs, current research findings show mixed results. Cowan (2013) provided an excellent overview of de - creased communication, dangerous "work arounds," and alert fatigue that can be associated with electronic medical records. Therefore, although EMRs are implemented with the goal of reducing medication errors and increasing communication between providers, data reveal new medication errors related to EMR use and poor communication.

I would like to add that EMR use may lead to increased health care costs. Sidorov (2006) reported higher billing and decreased provider productivity following implementation of EMRs. Higher billing was associated with "auto-population" of billing codes by software programs and increased rates of coding for the same procedures (Miller, West, Brown, Sim, & Ganchoff, 2005; Sidorov, 2006). In addition, EMR use can be associated with decreased provider productivity (Sidorov, 2006). A recent study stated that the cost of inpatient pediatric care found an average 7% ($146) increase in the cost of care per patient in hospitals using EMRs (Teufel, Kazley, Ebeling, & Basco, 2012).

Should we uninstall our EMRs and throw them out? …