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PSNet: Patient Safety Network
Journal Article

Adverse inpatient outcomes during the transition to a new electronic health record system: observational study.

Barnett ML, Mehrotra A, Jena AB. BMJ (Clinical research ed.). 2016;354:i3835.

Electronic health records (EHRs) offer safety benefits, but the disruption associated with EHR implementation can lead to unintended consequences as well. This observational study sought to determine whether the incidence of adverse patient outcomes (including certain AHRQ Patient Safety Indicators, readmissions, and mortality) was higher at 17 hospitals that were transitioning to a new EHR than in 399 hospitals that did not change their EHR. Investigators found no significant difference between safety outcomes of hospitals with a new EHR and those without a new EHR. This large-scale study across multiple institutions demonstrates that patients' care remains safe during EHR transitions. The authors suggest that these results should allay safety concerns for institutions planning to implement EHRs. A PSNet interview described the challenges associated with EHR transitions.