Magazine article Behavioral Healthcare Executive

Be Wary of Copy-and-Paste Ehr Mistakes

Magazine article Behavioral Healthcare Executive

Be Wary of Copy-and-Paste Ehr Mistakes

Article excerpt

Copy and paste functionality in electronic health records (EHRs) can be beneficial for providers, shaving time off the sometimes tedious process of updating notes and patient encounters. However, the practice of pasting in EHR information also comes with some potential risks for fraud and treatment errors from tainted records.

"There's a world of efficiency that cut and paste brings," says Lisa Pierce Reisz, partner, Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP, a Columbus-based law firm. "Talk to any provider and the bane of their existence- like all of us-is documentation. Today, it feels like there continues to be more and more requirements for documentation by numerous regulators. It solves that issue."

However, if providers are not diligent in reviewing the information that often is quickly pasted in, the feature can be a vehicle for introducing errors that could result in fraud charges and possible fines for upcoding, for example. Accidentally paste in the wrong code without looking closely, and false claims could be submitted unintentionally for services that were never provided.

"It runs the gamut from a simple mistake that could be painful to pay back, to something more systematic, to false claims and even criminal penalties for fraud," Reisz says.

Inputting incorrect information from the wrong patient encounter could not only negatively affect future care delivery, but it could also result in dangerous prescription errors.

"From the outside looking in, there seems to be more risk than benefit," says Robin Canowitz, senior attorney at Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP. She says providers must edit each time they're updating a patient's medical record to ensure that the information being recorded is accurate, up to date and aligns with the patient services they're providing.

"You're trying to ensure your documentation integrity," Reisz says. "There really is no difference in concept from paper records, just more opportunities for mistakes, for those sorts of nuances to be lost, and it really taints the record."

Manage copy and paste

Although the cons certainly outweigh the pros, opting to turn off the functionality isn't necessarily the answer either. Instead, Reisz says, the solution lies in provider training on the front end and monitoring and auditing on the back end. …

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