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Federal Regulators Increase Focus on Patient Risks From Electronic Health Records

Pew -“As part of a federal program to routinely publish data on the capabilities of electronic health record (EHR) systems, the government recently finalized a component that will help collect information from doctors, nurses, and other clinicians about the effects of these technologies on patient safety. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) will collect clinicians’ feedback through a survey developed by the Urban Institute under a contract with the agency. ONC will release aggregated results as part its EHR reporting program. Congress required the program’s creation in the 21st Century Cures Act, the wide-ranging federal health legislation enacted in 2016. The act directs ONC to determine which data to gather from health information technology vendors. That information can then be used to illuminate the strengths and weaknesses of EHR products, as well as industry trends. The Pew Charitable Trusts, major medical organizations and hospital groups, and health information technology experts have urged that the reporting program examine usability-related patient risks. Confusing, cumbersome, and poorly customized EHR systems can cause health care providers to order the wrong drug or miss test results and other information critical to safe, effective treatment. Usability challenges also can increase providers’ frustration and, in turn, their likelihood of making mistakes…”

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