How can Electronic Health Records (EHR) improve patient safety?

Clinical Decision Support Tools to improve clinical safety using Online Electronic Medical Records | EMR in Indian Hospitals:

A good EPR or EHR will be agile and supported by development team that can help safe practices in clinical settings. A number of examples come to mind, each of these could potentially be added/ built into an electronic medical records system.

  1. Alerts is the easiest the most obvious of the examples. A method of noting allergies and related risks. These may then pop up if need be each time a medical practitioner decides to prescribe something. These alerts can also be highlighted on the patient dashboard.
  2. An algorithm can be introduced to ensure certain safety checklists were completed e.g. before prescribing to a female patient, the prescription cannot be validated and go live until the doctor confirms he/she has confirmed patient consent and/or give advice to the patient about the use of medication and pregnancy.
  3. Imagine prescribing 3 different medications and being uncertain of drug-drug interactions, a good EHR will plugin an API to provide an up-to-date searchable inventory of interactions and potential adversities.
  4. In mental health, prescribing Clozapine requires regular White Cell count checks to be done and the medication cannot be prescribed or dispensed unless the doctor can confirm the counts were normal.
  5. Consider the work done by Charities in improving the health of infants in India. A lot of the need is set within rural and remote parts of India where access to medical specialists is limited. However, Imagine if the EHR could be used by the local Anganwadi Worders in villages to record a child’s weight, height, head circumference, and other parameters, the Application then automates calculations of Growth percentiles and flags up those below the 2nd or the 9th percentile. This data can be automatically seen by a specialist Pediatrician in a tertiary centre allowing immediate clinical advice, treatment, and care to be started on a vulnerable baby in a timely manner.

The vast amount of basic clinical data in naturalistic settings can be rich material for research, a deeper understanding of public health, epidemiology, and improved service delivery. Such information can be vital in recognising and preventing the spread of pandemics and intervening early.

A good EHR will make the clinical practice safer and yet save valuable man-hours the doctor otherwise could end up spending looking for the above decision support tools independently on the internet or across different systems.

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