'Copy-and-paste' reveals a failure of EHR technology

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has created a bit of a stir with its study, "Examining the Copy and Paste Function in the Use of Electronic Health Records." The study concludes that clinicians are copying data from one electronic source and pasting it into electronic health records (EHRs).

The problem seems to be that not all the data being transferred is accurate or relevant in the new record.

The report recommended that EHRs allow clinicians need to know the data's source, when it was added and who added it. This visibility would allow users to identify data that shouldn't be transferred.

But adding another layer of complexity isn't going to help anyone. Think about why clinicians are resorting to copy-and-paste. The EHRs are cumbersome and get in the way of their work. So copy-and-paste is a short cut that makes the systems a bit more tolerable.

So adding another layer of something a clinician needs to figure out isn't going to help solve anything.

And physicians already resent becoming data entry clerks. This makes them become more proficient at data entry when they want more distance between them and record keeping.

EHR makers need to start from scratch and create systems that don't drive clinicians to shortcuts that compromise the integrity of the clinical data.