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The EHR’s Role in Patient Safety

The contribution of electronic health records (EHRs) to patient safety goes far beyond sending the correct prescription to the right pharmacy. EHRs can help to ensure patient safety across a continuum, beginning with appointment scheduling and continuing through the prescription pickup process.

Patient safety risks often include medication errors and/or adverse drug events (ADEs) that may or may not pose direct harm to a patient. Risk for ADEs can be patient-specific, drug-specific, clinician-specific, or a combination of these.1 The EHR is an all-inclusive resource that allows clinicians to properly manage a patient’s care through the use of up-to-date tools and resources to help mitigate these risks.

Practice Fusion takes several approaches to help ensure proper patient safety through the EHR workflow.2

1. Medication Access Cloud-based technology allows for automated medication updates including brand name, generic equivalents, and biosimilars. Medi-Span works with manufacturers, governing bodies, and legal entities to provide the most up-to-date content delivery.

2. Patient Education Resources are readily available for clinicians to send patient education materials electronically via secure messaging depending on a chosen diagnosis. Educational materials may include generalized medication and disease state knowledge that can help patients get started on learning more about their individual conditions.

3. Medication Appropriateness The EHR prescribing module is equipped with capability to enable and implement the functionality for drug-drug and drug-allergy interaction checks. Chosen severity levels for interactions are available to help clinicals decide the extent of warnings or precautions that will appear when prescribing.

4. Medication Adherence Medication cost and cost-savings alternatives, also known as real-time prescription benefit (RTPB) checks, are offered at the point of prescribing for qualified patients to help increase medication adherence. In addition, electronic coupons can be printed and given directly to participating patients to further reduce their out-of-pocket costs.

5. Wellness Integration Seamlessly order laboratory panels or radiologic imaging studies from a patient’s chart to ensure a whole diagnostic picture. Receiving results directly into the EHR allows clinicians to share these with their referral network or patients with minimal effort.

6. Chronic Care Management Transferring records or sending referrals electronically, also known as health information exchange, only takes a few clicks. Making sure patient information is received and delivered properly can help speed diagnosis and treatment plans to keep transitions of care in motion.

7. Medication Management Proper documentation of current medications in the EHR facilitates the process of medication review and reconciliation by the clinician to help promote medication safety. The list should be all-encompassing with not only prescriptions but also over-the-counters, herbals, and dietary supplements.

8. Patient Portal Enable patients to actively engage in their healthcare by authorizing them access to their personal records. Patients will be able to view appointments, procedures, vital signs, lab results, medications, and care plans.

9. E-Prescribing Communication Ability to change or cancel a prescription can save time while making sure patients are taking the appropriate medications. When e-prescribing, attaching medications to the treatment plan can help assure each therapy has an indication.

Practice Fusion is pleased to help promote Patient Safety Awareness Week March 14th-20th, 2021. We are working to identify and establish new programs that not only can help our clinicians but also, more importantly, their patients. Our commitment and dedication to patient safety is integral to all aspects of product development life cycle and is driven by a comprehensive system-based approach to clinical risk management.

References:

  1. Medication Errors and Adverse Drug Events - PSNet (ahrq.gov)
  2. The Pharmacist’s Role in Medication Safety - PSNet (ahrq.gov)