ONC: EHRs are improving patient safety

Electronic health records are making major strides in improving patient safety, according to the Office of the National Coordinator's latest data brief. The brief, based on the 2013 National Ambulatory Medical Care Physician Workflow Survey of 11,000 physicians, found that three times as many physicians reported that their EHR prevented a potential medication error than caused one; 47 percent were reminded to provide preventive care by their EHRs.

The physicians using EHRs that met Meaningful Use technology were "significantly" more likely to report safety improvements associated with EHRs than those who weren't, although the brief acknowledges that there was a small but significant percentage where EHRs negatively impacted patient safety, such as alert overload causing a physician to overlook something. In a related blog post, ONC noted that the net result of EHRs was "overwhelmingly positive." Data brief (.pdf)  Blog post