Electronic Health Records (EHRs) were largely adopted after 2009, or after the Congress passed the HITECH Act that appropriated $30 billion in financial incentives for hospital and physicians to migrate from paper to digital records. In theory the policy made/makes perfect sense. Adopting information technology/IT would over time create efficiencies, drive better care coordination and overall improve care quality and reduce unnecessary spending or reduce spending growth. However, for numerous reasons moving to widespread use of EHRs has presented/continues to present numerous challenges and problems, some anticipated and some not, that meant putting patients at risk of medical harm, or essentially swapped out one set of problems (associated with paper records) for another set of problems (associated with EHRs).
During this 29-minute conversation Dr. Troxel offers his view why the medical industry comparatively lagged in adopting digital records, what are the more common EHR design flaws and what kinds of medical errors they cause, how prevalent are EHR-related errors or what did his report, cited below, conclude, why EHR-related errors or harm occur, what is the current status of a proposed federal Health IT Safety Center and what can patients do to improve the safety of their EHRs.
Dr. Troxel is Secretary of the Board of Governors and Medical Director of The Doctors Company, a physician-owned medical malpractice insurer. Dr. Troxel is also Clinical Professor Emeritus at the School of Public Health at the
University of California at Berkeley. He is past president of the American Board of Pathology and the California Society of Pathologists. He serves as Chairman of The Doctors Company Foundation and as a member of the Patient Safety and Technology Committees at The Doctors Company.
Referenced during the discussion the report, "Electronic Health Record Closed Claims Study," is at: http://www.thedoctors.com/ecm/groups/public/documents/print_pdf/con_id_013553.pdf.
The 2011 IOM report, "Health IT and Patient Safety: Building Safer Systems for Better Care," also referenced during the discussion is at: http://www.nationalacademies.org/hmd/Reports/2011/Health-IT-and-Patient-Safety-Building-Safer-Systems-for-Better-Care.aspx.
Information on the Doctors Company is at: http://www.thedoctors.com/.