Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Are We Ready for EHRs?

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Are We Ready for EHRs?

Article excerpt

Electronic health record systems are promoted seemingly more for the sake of acquiring and using the technology than for specific benefits that cannot be gained in some other way ("Feds to Reward Use of Electronic Health Records," September, 2004, p. 78).

Improving patient health status is one reason used to justify the use of EHRs. If indeed that is a goal, where is a systematic study of the many potential methods to improve patient health status?

Another reason to justify promotion of EHRs is to reduce medical errors. What are the real numbers, decreasing the error from 1% to 0.5%, or what? One percent is a very small number. Where are the data, from an unbiased source, to show that the number of errors that have been prevented by EHRs substantially affected patient outcomes?

EHRs require computers, which are prone to several deficiencies. Hardware used for EHRs is subject to break down. Hard copy records, on paper, do not have this deficiency. Computers are at risk for exposure to hackers. So computers still represent a risky device with respect to patient confidentiality.

In spite of those problems. …

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