'Event' Registry For Electronic Health Record Errors

The Wall Street Journal's health blog just reported:

Today a not-for-profit alliance of medical society and professional liability carrier executives is rolling out, a new safety reporting system for EHRs. Doctors and other health-care workers can go online and report problems and mistakes they experience as they ramp up the use of digitized records

Here's one reason this is a good idea. A certain school I'm familiar with recently sent out an electronic form for parents to use to update their information in the school's online directory. The form asked the parents to check off which grade and which class their children were in. At least one parent misunderstood so badly that he or she checked off all the classes in all the grades.

Other misunderstandings disqualified dozens more forms. So even though electronic health records are obviously the way to go, you also have to figure that on the ground, people tend to find ways to misuse and misunderstand new technology that its makers could never have imagined. As those ways are tracked, the technology can be made even more foolproof.

The Journal reports:

The aggregated data will be available to medical societies, liability carriers and agencies such as the FDA, but will remain confidential — and won’t be subject to legal discovery. (The mechanism for this type of information sharing is the patient safety organization, federally sanctioned groups formed by providers, nonprofit groups and other interested parties to analyze data about medical errors. Groups can get aggregated data if they agree to keep it out of the public domain.) “The hope is to collect the information, synthesize it, let everyone get smarter, and get the information back to doctors in a feedback loop."

This program aired on November 15, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

Carey Goldberg Editor, CommonHealth
Carey Goldberg is the editor of WBUR's CommonHealth section.



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