Safety of Electronic Documentation

  1. 0
    Are nurses and others at your facility acting to ensure the safety of computer systems?
    This article gives personal and facility examples of safety issues.


    Digital Health Records’ Risks Emerge as Deaths Blamed on Systems

    ... Last month, nurses at Marin General Hospital in California complained about an electronic medical-record system made by McKesson that they said was causing medications to be ordered for the wrong patients.

    Jamie Maites, a spokeswoman at Marin General, said the hospital has made “significant progress” in dealing with the issues. The rollout has been “challenging,” yet “has resulted in a safer hospital for our patients,” she wrote in an e-mail. Kris Fortner, a spokesman for McKesson, said the company is working with Marin General to address the concerns.

    "Aside from some initial issues related to changes in nursing workflow, feedback from Marin’s leadership to McKesson about the implementation has been positive," Fortner wrote in an e-mail. ...
    Epic Systems was the target of criticism last year by nurses working in Contra Costa County, near San Francisco. They complained that glitches in the county’s $45 million system, such as medications disappearing from electronic files, were endangering patients’ lives. ...

    ... In one month, 129 complaints were filed by nurses at county detention facilities, where the problems were most acute, according to Jerry Fillingim, labor representative at National Nurses United.

    Some problems in Contra Costa arose because of human error -- medications were entered incorrectly into the Epic system when it went live, said Rajiv Pramanik, chief medical information officer for the county. There has been “dramatic improvement” among staff members in using the technology and the system’s “strengths are tremendous,” he said.
    Barb Hernandez, a spokeswoman for Epic, declined to comment. ...
  2. 13 Comments so far...

  3. 0
    Scary stuff.
  4. 1
    My issue is with physicians entering orders into the computer AND on the charts. With one eye glued to the computer so nothing is missed and the other glued to the chart so nothing is missed, who's gonna watch the patients???? Last week, a physician wrote an order on a chart at 1710 and placed the chart WHEREVER, but not in the rack for new orders.

    Needless to say that when I got report from the day nurse, she was unaware of those orders because she couldn't find the chart. The patient situation was different from what was on the chart because the physician had come in, removed some things from the patient, and had not told the nurse. We finally located the chart around 2045. So I checked the ENTIRE chart for other orders to be carried out. (Patient has orders for discharge the next day. Ok, no problem. At least we know the deal now. So I proceeded to do the 2100 med pass. When I finally got a chance to do the official chart check, it was 0130 because of admissions, two very needy patients in a group of six, and I made number 7 who had to go to the darn restroom, too, but hadn't had a chance to go since BEFORE I clocked in at 1830.

    Anyway, during the chart checks, the SAME doctor went elsewhere in the hospital, pulled up that SAME patient's electronic record, and entered NPO after midnight orders for surgery in early AM. WHAT!??!?! REALLY?!??!!! What happened to the discharge orders?????? That is a very important change and a huge leap in the plan of care which should have at least deserved a phone call, you think????

    We have a list of physicians who are 'resistant' to computer entry, so we know that when we see those physicians or their representatives, to go check the chart. But these others are like loose cannons randomly firing off orders verbally, handwritten in the chart, and when they tire themselves out, they roll over and enter them in the computer. There is no end and LOTS of orders are being missed because of this. At some point, we as nurses have to stop checking for orders and actually go DO the work ordered. They don't seem to understand THAT little detail!!!!
    herring_RN likes this.
  5. 2
    Quote from LYNDAA
    My issue is with physicians entering orders into the computer AND on the charts. With one eye glued to the computer so nothing is missed and the other glued to the chart so nothing is missed, who's gonna watch the patients???? Last week, a physician wrote an order on a chart at 1710 and placed the chart WHEREVER, but not in the rack for new orders.

    Needless to say that when I got report from the day nurse, she was unaware of those orders because she couldn't find the chart. The patient situation was different from what was on the chart because the physician had come in, removed some things from the patient, and had not told the nurse. We finally located the chart around 2045. So I checked the ENTIRE chart for other orders to be carried out. (Patient has orders for discharge the next day. Ok, no problem. At least we know the deal now. So I proceeded to do the 2100 med pass. When I finally got a chance to do the official chart check, it was 0130 because of admissions, two very needy patients in a group of six, and I made number 7 who had to go to the darn restroom, too, but hadn't had a chance to go since BEFORE I clocked in at 1830.

    Anyway, during the chart checks, the SAME doctor went elsewhere in the hospital, pulled up that SAME patient's electronic record, and entered NPO after midnight orders for surgery in early AM. WHAT!??!?! REALLY?!??!!! What happened to the discharge orders?????? That is a very important change and a huge leap in the plan of care which should have at least deserved a phone call, you think????

    We have a list of physicians who are 'resistant' to computer entry, so we know that when we see those physicians or their representatives, to go check the chart. But these others are like loose cannons randomly firing off orders verbally, handwritten in the chart, and when they tire themselves out, they roll over and enter them in the computer. There is no end and LOTS of orders are being missed because of this. At some point, we as nurses have to stop checking for orders and actually go DO the work ordered. They don't seem to understand THAT little detail!!!!
    What a nightmare! They need to have either EMR or paper charts. Having both puts patients at serious risk as with this example. Good Lord. Are there plans to transition to all EMR say in the next year or two?
    BSNbeDONE and herring_RN like this.
  6. 0
    That's where the fun comes in.....we already have, with the above being the ending result!!!!!
  7. 4
    Are EMRs perfect? Nope.

    However, they're not replacing perfection.

    That's why we have nurses as the final fail-safe... "Um, Doc, did you really mean to order ___?" or "Doc, should we consider adding ___?"
    PNWxplant, herring_RN, wooh, and 1 other like this.
  8. 4
    What the facilties need to do is put their foot down and tell the physicians if you are going to practice here you will put 100% of your orders into the computer unless it is a code or we will deny your privilges. If all hospitals would do this the docs would quickly get on board. Money is a great motivator.
    dudette10, ICUNurseG, BSNbeDONE, and 1 other like this.
  9. 1
    I don't think there's really any arguing that CPOE and EMR's are far safer than our soon-to-be-former system. There are going to be issues with the transitional period we're currently in, which is why many facilities are skipping the phase in of CPOE and going straight to 100% compliance. And there are some bad EMR systems out there, although with requirements that EMR's be "certified" in coming years this should help weed out the bad ones.

    We had a sentinel event a few years ago where a patient on a PH drug was given nitro, they died. Recently we had another patient who came into the ER with chest pain and was about to be given Nitro, until the computer system refused to dispense the med since it knew the patient was on a PH med. There is also no "losing the chart" or missing orders that were written long ago (there is also no more need to check the transcription of orders). McDonalds has been using computerized order entry for almost 20 years, I think it's a little embarrassing that we're only now getting around to it.
    herring_RN likes this.
  10. 1
    Quote from MunoRN
    there are some bad EMR systems out there, although with requirements that EMR's be "certified" in coming years this should help weed out the bad ones.
    Unfortunately, some of the certified programs are still horribly difficult to work with and so create this massive distraction for the users or prevent the users from easily following what's going on with a patient.

    Hopefully the market will take care of these companies but their terrible products will be entrenched in small organizations that cannot afford to replace them.
    herring_RN likes this.
  11. 1
    Quote from ♪♫ in my ♥
    Unfortunately, some of the certified programs are still horribly difficult to work with and so create this massive distraction for the users or prevent the users from easily following what's going on with a patient.

    Hopefully the market will take care of these companies but their terrible products will be entrenched in small organizations that cannot afford to replace them.
    You're right that the 'first wave' of meaningful use requirements hasn't filtered out some of the under-performing programs, but as the requirements become more stringent in the coming years many of those won't make it. Carecast for instance, a horrible program, barely made the first round of requirements but likely won't be around after the 2016 requirements get phased in (and actually probably won't even make it until then as it's users are quickly switching to other products).
    herring_RN likes this.


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