Photo Identification in EHRs May Help Reduce Medical Errors

Electronic health records that include pictures of pediatric patients may help reduce the risk of providing the wrong care to the wrong patient, according to a study published in Pediatrics.


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Researchers at Children's Hospital Colorado in Aurora sought to determine the impact of photo identification and verification in EHRs on medical errors. The study was initiated in 2010, the same year 12 patients received medical services intended for another child. A year after photo identification was implemented in patient EHRs, the number of this type of adverse event dropped to three. In all three cases, the pediatric patient did not have a photo in his or her EHR.

The number of near-misses also fell from 33 in 2010 to 10 in 2011. The researchers concluded photo identification in EHRs could help mitigate the risk of providing unintended care to the wrong patient.

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