Skip to the content

Patient safety body highlights risk in EPR deployments


Mark Say Managing Editor

Get UKAuthority News


Digital tick over laptop used by doctor
Image source: best photo for all

Health service organisations need to carefully assess new electronic patient record (EPR) systems to ensure they do not create any risks, the central body for patient safety has warned.

The Health Services Safety Investigation Body (HSSIB), an arm’s length body of the Department of Health and Social Care, has raised a set of concerns following a series of investigations of safety issues associated EPR systems.

Its senior safety investigator, Helen Jones, has highlighted the issues in a blogpost, saying the interoperability of EPRs and other healthcare IT systems is often a key factor.

She summed up reports on a number of cases – in areas including hospital discharge, electronic prescribing and medication for children – in which patient safety was placed at risk by problems in exchanging information between systems.

“We have seen that the EPR systems staff are asked to use have not incorporated human factors engineering principles,” Jones said.

“Testing and standards can help ensure that staff and patient interactions with the EPR system can be better understood to help identify the systems strengths and weaknesses and identify potential errors that could result in harm to patients.”

Usability, guidance, pathways

She said HSSIB has developed a number of recommendations to improve the use of EPR systems, including that: they are subject to human factors and usability assessments to ensure their functionality and patient safety; manufactures are provided with guidance to meet the requirements; there should be research into how EPR systems are best configured to prevent ‘alert fatigue’ among staff; and they should consider the whole patient pathway into discharge from hospital.

Jones also said similar steps should be taken in deploying the forthcoming federated data platform for the NHS, which should enable the sharing of information between every NHS trust and integrated care system.


Register For Alerts

Keep informed - Get the latest news about the use of technology, digital & data for the public good in your inbox from UKAuthority.