Rand report: Providers ‘have poor grasp of EHRs’

A new RAND Corporation report has found that healthcare providers often don’t understand the impact of EHRs and health IT in general and few systems are willing to devote time and money to address critical issues. The healthcare system, according to the report, is faced with a host of cultural challenges and a lack of […]

A new RAND Corporation report has found that healthcare providers often don’t understand the impact of EHRs and health IT in general and few systems are willing to devote time and money to address critical issues.

The healthcare system, according to the report, is faced with a host of cultural challenges and a lack of communication among key stakeholders and incentives, all of which is limiting awareness that can possibly lead to patients being put at risk.

The increased rate of adoption on EHRs, prompted by meaningful use, could further increase risk, the report said, causing providers to rely too heavily on IT without noting other risks.

From the report:

“Organizations tended to view health IT as a solution to patient safety problems, while overlooking the potential of health IT to contribute to safety problems or to create new types of safety risks. Organizations installing, expanding, or upgrading EHRs are focused on ensuring that systems are operational and support necessary functions and that staff have sufficient training to use EHRs meaningfully. While these concerns clearly have implications for patient safety, the new safety risks associated with the implementation and use of health IT, especially EHRs, were not perceived in general as requiring focused effort.”

Risk management staff, quality and safety officers, and IT staff had to redirect attention and resources from current operations and health IT projects with looming deadlines (such as accomplishing meaningful use certification or planning for the ICD-10 transition) to pursue these risk mitigation projects.”

Although many organizations have struggled with health IT, the study found that many recognized the benefits of seeking outside help to solve these problems.