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The digital age of Electronic Health Records (EHR)

The doctor-patient relationship is at the heart of every medical practice and linked to this relationship is the inevitability administrative tasks of record keeping. Nearly 80 percent of medical practices rely on EHR, presumably to improve access to health information, increase efficiency and productivity.

Studies suggest that for every hour doctors spend with their patients, it requires an additional two hours for administrative tasks including maintaining the EHR. The rise in documentation demands has likely contributed to the increase in the number of EHR-related malpractice claims the last 10 years.

There are a number of factors attributed to the EHR errors:

1) Data entry errors, copy and paste errors, data conversion issues

2) Alert fatigue and time pressure

3) System factors such as data routing issues and data fragmentation (different components of a single patient encounter located in different places causing data to be missed)

Future State:

It is likely that the state of EHR will evolve over time and be optimized for quality care and patient safety. Redesigning EHR workflows, developing protocols and standards, applying "big data" techniques and leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) learning will allow physicians to refocus on patient care and meet the demands of the digital age.