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Commentary Explores the "Rights" of Safe Electronic Health Record Use


The pressure on hospitals and physicians to adopt electronic health records (EHRs) has never been greater. However, several researchers have raised concerns about the safety of EHRs in light of the limitations of currently available software, the inexperience of clinicians and information technologists in implementation and use of EHRs, and the potential adverse outcomes associated with provider order entry and other clinical applications. This JAMA Commentary proposes eight "Rights" of safe EHR use, which are grounded in an engineering model that addresses work-system design for patient safety.

Some of the eight Rights include the: 1) Right hardware/software — an EHR must be capable of supporting required clinical activities without malfunctions; 2) Right content — evidence-based, carefully constructed, monitored, complete, and error-free; 3) Right user interface — allows clinicians to quickly learn and use a complex EHR safely and efficiently; and 5) Right organizational characteristics — a culture of innovation, exploration, and continual improvement are key characteristics for safe EHR use. The authors recommend the use of the eight "Rights," in order to address the complex interaction of organizational, technical, and cognitive factors that affect the safety and effectiveness of EHRs.

PubMed Logo Sittig D and Singh H. Eight rights of safe electronic health record use. JAMA September 9, 2009;302(10):1111-1113.

Dr. Singh is part of HSR&D's Houston Center for Quality of Care and Utilization Studies.

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What are HSR&D Publication Briefs?

HSR&D requires notification by HSR&D-funded investigators about all articles accepted for publication. These journal articles are reviewed by HSR&D and publication briefs or summaries are written for a select number of articles that are then forwarded to VHA Central Office leadership to keep them informed about important findings or information. Articles to be summarized are selected by HSR&D based on timeliness of the findings, interest of leadership, or potential impact on the organization. Publication briefs are written for only a small number of HSR&D published articles. Visit the HSR&D citations database for a complete listing of HSR&D articles and presentations.