January 20, 2011
How EHRs can improve the safety of healthcare delivery
On the morning of Nov. 19, 2010 the FDA announced the widespread recall of the popular pain relief medication, Darvocet, citing “serious and potentially fatal heart rhythm abnormalities.” Ensuring that the doctors who use our electronic health record (EHR) were aware of the Darvocet recall quickly became our highest priority that day. We needed to make sure that doctors knew about the recall so they immediately contact any of their patients who were taking Darvocet. This article from the McAllen Monitor
illustrates how EHRs can help improve patient safety, especially in cases of a drug recall. By doing a search of the EHR for all patients taking Darvocet, Dr. Juan Salazar, a family practice physician in McCallen, Texas, was able to start making phone calls that day to contact the more than 50 patients at his practice who were taking Darvocet. As Dr. Salazar points out in the article, prior to implementing his EHR, this would have been a manual process taking lots of time and effort to complete.
This is just one of the ways that EHRs are improving the safety of healthcare delivery. By providing doctors with the right information at the right time, we can help them make informed decisions. This translates into a higher quality of care for patients.