Tag Archives: Health IT

Missing Behavioral EHR Data Hinders Patients’ Healthcare

Sharing of behavioral health patient data has been a conflicting issue since the healthcare technology reforms started in the country. Under these reforms providers are required to implement Behavioral  Health EHRs for data sharing with healthcare stakeholders, including physicians from different specialties.

Behavioral health providers have been reluctant to share electronic records of patients with non-psychiatric physicians. This is because of the patients who hesitate to share their records from fear of privacy breach.

This American Medical News reported that most of the psychiatric records are not stored with rest of the data of mental health patients. This fear comprises the healthcare of psychiatric patients that has prompted groups like American Psychiatric Association to voice their concerns about restricted EHR data.

Non-psychiatric physicians emphasize on sharing of psychiatric data because it gives them a holistic view of the patients’ health, which will help them in creating a well-informed diagnosis and treatment plan. This is particularly necessary when physicians recommend medications that can react with mental health medicines.

Professor Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Dr. Adam Kaplin said, “The psychiatric illnesses patients have play a huge bearing on their medical illnesses. As an example, whether or not you have depression following a heart attack is as big as or bigger than any other risk factor as to whether you are going to die in the year following that heart attack.”

The U.S. News and World Report conducted a survey on data sharing by 2,000 psychiatrists from 18 different hospitals. The survey showed that patients of psychiatrists who shared electronic records with non-psychiatric physicians were less likely to be readmitted to the hospital within the same month.

The need is to address the fears of patients regarding the privacy and security of the sensitive details of their mental health data. Moreover, taboo surrounding mental health problems should be dealt with, so that patients allow psychiatrists to share their data.


The Buzz Surrounding Portable Care: mhealth

Mobile phones and devices might have been created to make and receive telephone calls, but technology has evolved at an exponentially rapid pace since. Now we’re at a point where video conferencing, interactive games, internet access, location trackers, apps and numerous other features and services, many not even fathomable a few years earlier, are in the palm of your hand.


One such development and an extremely significant one is mobile health (mhealth). This growing industry is changing the way doctors provide healthcare services, and how patients perceive and deal with medical decisions.

Mhealth tools such as mobile-based apps and devices which allow patients to monitor their heart rates, blood pressure rates and glucose rates, for example, and will help patients pay more attention towards managing their own health, will consequently decrease the number of trips they make to the doctor, and will cause the actual visits to be more effective.

Both doctors and patients will benefit from lower healthcare costs via such mobile apps and devices. As the focus for clinics, hospitals and the healthcare industry moves from the quantity of care to the quality of care, the payment benefits are also trending in that direction.

Moreover, the increasing collaboration between app developers and healthcare experts is resulting in the formation and improvement of such apps every day. Moreover, they are making apps for everything. For example, there’s an app which tells you how much you’ve saved since you gave up smoking, another which allows you to document weight loss through selfies (self photographs) and those which help identify potentially fatal symptoms so you can schedule doctor visits accordingly.  Physicians can also integrate the mhealth apps with their EHR Software.

However, the biggest hurdle to the process, isn’t the endorsement of such devices by doctors, but instead patients and their decision to adopt mhealth. If mhealth treatment plans are not followed, there will not only be health-based costs but huge financial ones too.

Mhealth has not been adopted by the masses yet, but at the current rate of progress in the industry, the day when every American has endorsed mhealth looks an actual and achievable possibility.


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.