Commentary Explores the "Rights" of Safe Electronic Health Record Use
The pressure on hospitals and physicians to adopt electronic health records (EHRs) has never been greater. However, several researchers have raised concerns about the safety of EHRs in light of the limitations of currently available software, the inexperience of clinicians and information technologists in implementation and use of EHRs, and the potential adverse outcomes associated with provider order entry and other clinical applications. This JAMA Commentary proposes eight "Rights" of safe EHR use, which are grounded in an engineering model that addresses work-system design for patient safety.
Some of the eight Rights include the: 1) Right hardware/software — an EHR must be capable of supporting required clinical activities without malfunctions; 2) Right content — evidence-based, carefully constructed, monitored, complete, and error-free; 3) Right user interface — allows clinicians to quickly learn and use a complex EHR safely and efficiently; and 5) Right organizational characteristics — a culture of innovation, exploration, and continual improvement are key characteristics for safe EHR use. The authors recommend the use of the eight "Rights," in order to address the complex interaction of organizational, technical, and cognitive factors that affect the safety and effectiveness of EHRs.
Sittig D and Singh H. Eight rights of safe electronic health record use. JAMA September 9, 2009;302(10):1111-1113.
Dr. Singh is part of HSR&D's Houston Center for Quality of Care and Utilization Studies.