Can you copy-paste in an EHR software?

While copy-pasting helps us do a lot more in a lot less time, the same doesn’t apply to the healthcare industry and more specifically, electronic health record (EHR) software.

Copy-pasting patient data into patient records can have very serious consequences including increased risk of medical errors and possible breaches of CMS regulations.


According to a recent AHIMA report, 79-90% of physicians use the copy/paste function in their EHRs, and somewhere between 20-78% of physician notes are copied text. With so many physicians relying on the tactic, it’s not surprising to see a growing number of errors made within EHR systems.

So where does the true danger lie for physicians? Let’s discuss.

Dangers of copy-pasting

Imagine an intensive care unit (ICU), where a patient is in delicate condition and any small change in treatment or medications could affect the outcome of the case. Using the previous day’s treatment plan the following day is often routine.

However, the previous day’s plan may not include the most up-to-date information, and copying over old charts could put the patient in fatal risk if crucial new data is lost during the process.

Should doctors copy paste?

The good news is that there are times when using the copy paste functionality to streamline workflow are appropriate. The command should be applied for copying demographics, regular patient medications, problem lists, long standing allergies, and labs.

However, appropriate use of functionality is important. It is always best to manually input medical data of every new patient and must be verified for accuracy.

These are such minute things which you need to be aware of when entering patient data in your EHR software. Remember, it may save you time, but it should not be at the cost of a patient life.


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