44% of healthcare organizations open 3+ patient records at once

About half of healthcare organizations report opening three or more patient records within electronic health records (EHRs) at a time, increasing the likelihood these files can become infected if the platform is not protected, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.

Ensuring the safety of patient information within EHRs requires healthcare professionals follow recommendations on safety procedures. One of those procedures is to limit the amount of patient records open at once, but whether these guidelines are followed is not known. This study analyzed two nation listservs to conduct a survey on EHR practices in 167 inpatient and outpatient facilities using EHR systems designed to open more than one record at a time.

Results showed that 44.3 percent of facilities had EHR systems configured to allow more than three records at a time, and 38.3 percent allowed for only one record to be open and 17.4 percent allowed for two to be opened.

“Decision-making centered on efforts to balance safety and efficiency, but there was disagreement among organizations about how to achieve that balance,” wrote lead author Jason S. Adelman, MD, and colleagues. “Results demonstrate no consensus on the number of records to be allowed open at once in EHRs. Rigorous studies are needed to determine the optimal number of records that balances safety and efficiency.”