Providing Evidence and Developing a Toolkit to Accelerate the Adoption of Patient Photographs in Electronic Health Records (New York)

Project Details - Ongoing

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Summary:

Placing orders on the wrong patient in electronic health records (EHRs) is a significant health information technology (IT) safety challenge that healthcare organizations face today. To prevent these errors, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT “SAFER Guide” recommends displaying patient photographs in EHRs. However, only 20 percent of hospitals have adopted this practice, citing a lack of evidence and implementation challenges as major barriers. To date, only weak evidence exists to support the adoption of patient photographs in EHRs.

This study will evaluate the effectiveness of displaying patient photos in EHR systems to prevent wrong-patient errors when using computerized provider order entry systems. Investigators from Columbia University Medical Center and Johns Hopkins Medicine will collaborate with the ECRI Institute’s Partnership for Health IT Patient Safety and an expert advisory panel of patient safety leaders to produce rigorous results across multiple settings.

The specific aims of the project are as follows:

  • Provide rigorous evidence for the efficacy of displaying patient photographs in EHRs. 
  • Identify factors that impact the effectiveness of patient photographs on the frequency of wrong-patient orders, including characteristics of providers, patients, and orders. 
  • Demonstrate generalizability using different EHR systems to evaluate the effectiveness of patient photographs for reducing the frequency of wrong-patient orders across sites and EHR systems. 
  • Provide implementation guidance for displaying patient photographs in EHRs. 
  • Examine user perceptions and experience of patient photographs in the different EHR systems, including staff, providers, and patients. 

Researchers will conduct a multisite, cluster, randomized controlled trial in which providers are randomly assigned to view order screens with or without a patient photograph to determine efficacy. To address concerns about implementation, the study team will develop a Health IT Safety Toolkit, “Implementing Patient Photographs in EHR Systems” to provide guidance for healthcare organizations to adopt patient photographs in their EHR systems. This project has the potential to provide healthcare systems with the rationale and resources to accelerate adoption of patient photographs in their EHRs, and to provide patient safety and regulatory bodies with the evidence needed to require the use of patient photographs in EHRs.

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