Undue reliance on electronic health record data without actually examining a patient can have negative consequences on care, according to a recent article in the Atlantic, by Richard Gunderman, M.D., vice chair of the radiology department at Indiana University. Gunderman told the story of a newly admitted hospital patient who presented as "BKA"--a below-knee amputee-- according to his EHR; the status also had been listed in the patient's past three discharge notes. One problem: when the hospital team went to the patient's room, clinicians found that the patient had both legs.
As it turns out, according to Gunderman, the EHR's voice recognition dictation equipment mistook "DKA" (diabetic ketoacidosis) for "BKA," and no one caught the error. Gunderman implied that the DKA had been left untreated. Article