7 EHR Features That Can Help in Eliminating Medical Errors

February 22, 2023

Electronic health record (EHR) systems are no longer considered luxuries but are required in a healthcare facility. Healthcare providers who want to provide patients with a modern standard of care while avoiding government penalties must implement an EHR system and integrate it into their workflow. An EHR is a virtual representation of a patient's paper chart. EHRs are patient-centered, real-time records that make information available to authorized users instantly and securely.

Therefore, this guide will discuss the seven EHR features that can help eliminate medical errors and how an EHR can help prevent medical errors only when lines of communication are open and reliable.

What is a Medical Error?

A medical error is a nightmare scenario for any provider or medical practice. While most healthcare professionals and consumers/clients/patients understand that doctors are human and occasionally make mistakes, most take steps to guarantee accuracy in all aspects of a patient care scenario.

Every year, thousands of people, unfortunately, encounter medical errors of some kind and even pass away. In the United States, medical errors are now the third leading cause of death, according to recent research by Johns Hopkins. Alarmingly, according to data gathered throughout the eight-year study, medical errors cause almost 250,000 fatalities each year.

What is the Most Typical Medical Error?

Errors do occur in patient care. One of the most common is medication error, which increases when a person sees multiple providers. Errors are widespread in in-patient settings where multiple teams or specialists treat the same patient. Error is also frequently caused by a patient's deliberate withholding of information, such as refusing to disclose that more than one provider is seeing them. 

When it comes to medication errors, incorrect dosages, interactions with other drugs, or inadvertent prescribing of the wrong drug are more common than many of us would like to believe; the good news is that most of these errors can be avoided.

How can EHRs help to Prevent Medical Errors?

Electronic health records can reduce the risk of medical errors by alerting users to possible drug interactions and harmful effects. Most errors in drug prescriptions are brought on by:

  • Medicines prescribed that have interactions with other drugs (prescription or over-the-counter).
  • Typical meals a patient might eat while taking a specific medication.
  • Prescription of a drug to a patient who is allergic to it or has had a severe reaction to it.
  • A failure to adequately notice and take into account potentially harmful side effects based on a patient's medical history.
  • Incorrect dosage or dosage frequency recommendations.

An EHR and RCM integration means smooth, streamlined communication between the two software platforms. In other words, you have a unified system for patient records and billing. EHR systems from talkEHR include several tools that send alerts for drug-food or drug-drug interactions and double-check for allergies or prior records of bad drug reactions.

According to recent data, EHR systems' reconciliation capabilities and alternatives can cut medical errors by more than 50%. Some of these practice-use systems employ split screens to screen pre-admission drugs for potential interactions or dangerous adverse reactions with potentially new prescriptions that may give for a current treatment or procedure.

7 EHR Characteristics that can help to Eliminate Medical Errors

EHRs are essential instruments that can help to lower medical errors and the costs they incur. This is particularly valid when the EHR offers a customized user experience that incorporates data from all relevant systems in the health care delivery system.

Here are seven EHR features that can significantly reduce instances of poor communication between medical providers, which ultimately leads to medical errors:

Integration of Mobile Devices

A HIMSS Analytics study found that 43% of providers, IT professionals, and department heads in the healthcare industry now use cell phones. In comparison, 80% use tablets to deliver and coordinate treatment. A more accurate treatment plan is made possible by reducing medical errors when an integrated EHR is present on every communication platform a healthcare provider is likely to use, such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops, email, internal videoconferencing, and telehealth.

Complete Patient Assistance

Before the appointment, providers and support staff from all care teams, including behavioral and physical health, should be able to view a concise synopsis of the patient's condition and treatment plan that they can digest in 60 seconds. All relevant diagnoses, medications, lab results, appointments, population categories, and social determinants of health should be included in this synopsis.

The Ability to Filter

Since less information is better, each user's view would be effectively tailored to their function and needs with clear links to more news, making it easier to get crucial information rapidly.

A Comfortable Interface

Social media networks cleverly combine data from several sources and offer the necessary information without searching. When significant factors, such as a new prescription, diagnosis, provider, appointment, or life event, change the healthcare environment, a socially informed EHR should incorporate notifications.

Recognition of Voice

EHRs that respond to voice instructions and easily convert voice to text boost efficiency and allow healthcare providers to return to patient care. This helps prevent burnout and marshal information effectively. This functionality should enable clinicians to voice data into systems that handle appointments, orders, lab results, treatment plan changes, prescriptions, and more rather than typing it in.

Constant Learning

In your notes or structured data fields, an integrated EHR with artificial intelligence capabilities can foresee what you're about to say by continuously learning how the provider operates. Updating patient information via voice dictation or a keyboard can provide progressively accurate predictive text.

Secure Access for Patients

Both patients and medical professionals despise red tape. Therefore, their interactions with their provider(s) should be as seamless and organized as the practices. Patients should have access to their practices and scheduling, health data, prescription refills, test results, scheduling, and instructional materials by being invited into a customized area of the shared EHR environment.

Bottom Line

This guide outlined the seven EHR features that can help eliminate medical errors and demonstrated that EHRs that function in this manner could help reduce medical errors and unnecessary costs by improving communication in an easy-to-use way.