Do acute care Electronic Health Records always achieve their intended goals? The literature on “unintended consequences” has long warned of the potential downside of EHR implementations and the unique challenges associated with computerization in healthcare settings. Alert fatigue, for example, continues to frustrate clinicians overloaded with un-prioritized pop-ups that lead them to click past both inane and critical alerts. The moral is that simply computerizing medical records and ordering electronically with CPOE does not lead effortlessly to the clinical, efficiency and organizational performance outcomes we seek. In fact, it often does harm. I was on the phone recently with a physician friend who was driving home after seeing a patient in a hospital that uses a competitive EHR. Abruptly he said, “I need to turn around and head back to the hospital – I apparently ordered a ten-fold over dose […]
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