EMR Safety Event Reporting

Posted on December 1, 2010 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

The PDR Network in partnership with the iHealth Alliance has launched a new reporting system for adverse EHR events called EHREvent.org. Some of these adverse EMR events might include: software problems, inadequate user training, security breaches and near-misses. Here’s a short quote from the press release about the new website:

Using a standardized online format, EHRevent will collect reports from physicians and other health care providers who use EHRs, and create reports that medical societies, professional liability carriers and government agencies such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will use to help educate providers on the potential challenges that EHR systems may bring.

The form breaks out the EHR safety events into 4 categories:
Incident: An EHR event that reached a patient, whether or not the patient was harmed.
Near Miss: An EHR event that is not believed to have impacted a patient.
Non-Patient Issue: An incident or near miss that impacted staff, employee(s), visitor(s).
Unsafe Condition: A circumstance that increases the probability of an EHR event.

I tried out there form and they had a lot of the EHR vendors listed, but there were a few missing. For example, it didn’t have the popular free open source EMR: OpenEMR. I wonder where they got their list. Especially since the list is changing so rapidly.

The form was relatively simple, but it did have like 9 screens that you had to answer. After the fifth I was feeling like it was a bit lengthy and I was just submitting a test. Although, when an adverse EHR event happens, users are usually pretty motivated to tell their story. At least they will be until they get to the page on the event reporting where they have to turn over all their personal information. I’m sure many will be turned off by that little detail.

One more quote about EHR and safety events from the press release:

Alan Lembitz, M.D., vice president of Patient Safety and Risk Management for COPIC Insurance Company, added “Our experience indicates that EHRs have the capacity either to induce or to reduce medical errors in very unique ways, and we have seen data that indicates that EHR adoption may reduce physician liability. It will be increasingly important to understand best practices to improve patient safety for EHRs and for their users, and EHRevent will help both.”

It’s going to be interesting to see how this evolves. Is this something that EMR vendors will support. It seems like e-MDs is on board since Michael Stearns, MD and CEO of e-MDs is quoted in the press release.

Over the years a lot of people have asked me where they could report a situation related to their EHR. This seems to be the best we have so far. As the press release points out, “Professional liability carriers who insure doctors against malpractice claims are among the strongest supporters of EHRevent.” Of course they are. The more information they can get the better they can do their job. We’ll see how many doctors and practices get on board and support this type of EHR reporting initiative.