Can copy and paste jeopardize your practice?

There is a great feeling of happiness for anyone who learns how to   use the copy and paste function. It is like a world of possibilities opened up for you and you no longer have to type those words over and over again. But with ability like this comes a great responsibility. When using the copy and paste option in EHRs then there are some serious risks of errors being made.

According to an AHIMA report about 79-90% of physicians use copy/ paste function in their EHRs and around 20-78% of the physician notes are copied from text. Thus it is not shocking to see a large number of errors being made in the EHR systems.

Dangers of Copy and Pasting

 Imagine an intensive care unit (ICU) where patient is in critical condition and any minute changes in the treatment of the patient could have adverse effects. Whereas previous day plans are often used in the following day.

The previous day plans may not contain the updated information and copying the old charts can put the patient in fatal risk if the current data is lost. If an ICU unit copies a medical procedure from previous days while updating the treatment plan then the procedure can be coded twice and it can lead to overpayment.

Does doctors need to copy and paste at all?

There are certain times when the copy/paste function is recommended in order to streamline the workflow. The copy/paste command should be used for copying the demographics, regular medications, lists of problems, labs and allergies.

Clinicians and physicians need to use the copy/paste function appropriately and carefully. Whenever a new condition arises the best way is to manually enter the data and verify it in order to ensure accuracy.

Many of us would agree that copy/paste function is a blessing. But this blessing comes with a warning, so physicians and clinicians need to be careful when using this functionality. As it can get them into a trouble faster than they can imagine.


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