in HIPAA Headlines by John Brewer

Sound the alarm, hide the women and children, the results of a survey are out and…

Wait, what is this? has an article called “One-Third of Physicians Miss Electronic Test Results”.

What does this mean?  Let’s look at the options:

  1. Does this mean they miss the results and wish they could get them again?
  2. Does this mean they miss the results because EHRs are generally of poor design and expect the physician to do everything now?

If you chose what is behind door #2, you are a winner!  Doesn’t that feel good?

The survey referred to was published in JAMA and released yesterday…yet…the survey occurred way back in 2010.  This dated information does not mean it is now useless information…but in the world of software and electronics, a year or two is like an eternity (depending on your EHR of course).

Additionally the survey was conducted by an MD with the great alphabet soup of M.P.H.  I’m not aware of too many better designations that MPH, especially a very high MPH.

Enough tangents already, what did the survey discover?

29.8% of practitioners who responded said they missed test result notifications generated by their EHR.

So, the modern EHR has the doc acting as…well as a lot more “just a doc”, and because of this, and because an EHR tried to do everything, they are missing notifications.

Just like e-mail overload, where you get SPAM and ads and garbage, you have the very real ability to miss an email that matters.
EHRs are trying to “notify” you of any and all possible issues.  Most probably don’t matter to you, while many do.

Just like e-mail, you become numb to the deluge of notifications.

Sure there are probably ways to change the settings on your EHR to minimize the notifications…but nobody has shown you how to do this.

Another interesting part of this article, though it is not apparent from the title is this:
via an interview with another physician, who is also an M.P.H., it is discovered that even though 1/3 of the alerts were missed when using an EHR, that is better than the “miss rate” for paper records.

Though that number isn’t given, it seems this improvement, even with the information overload, should be touted as a success in the EHR battle.

About John Brewer

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