EHR Adverse Events Data Cause For Alarm

Erin McCann | Healthcare IT News | September 5, 2013

Software default values, though implemented for safety, are proving in many cases to be harmful for patients if not used properly

After analyzing more than 300 event reports related to EHR software default values, more than 3 percent were found to result in unsafe conditions or prolonged hospitalization for patients, according to a new report by the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority. 
The report analyzed 324 EHR default values – which are the preset medication, dose and delivery – that led to events, with the aim of giving state healthcare facilities valuable data to avoid EHR events such as wrong-time and wrong-dose errors in the future. 
"Default values are often used to add standardization and efficiency to hospital information systems," said Erin Sparnon, patient safety analyst for the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority, in a news release. "For example, a healthy patient using a pain medication after surgery would receive a certain medication, dose and delivery of the medication already preset by the healthcare facility within the EHR system for that type of surgery."