Physician Practice

EHR copy and paste best practices toolkit released

Physician Practice Insider, March 22, 2016

Copying and pasting information in EHRs is a common practice that can save busy physicians and other staff valuable time, but it can also introduce significant errors into the record. In an effort to help physicians make the most of the copy and paste function while protecting the integrity of the record, the Partnership for Health IT Patient Safety released a toolkit for the safe use of copy and paste in February 2016.

The toolkit offers four safe practice recommendations for using copy and paste in EHRs:

  • Recommendation A: Make copy and paste material easily identifiable
  • Recommendation B: Ensure the provenance of copy and paste material is easily available
  • Recommendation C: Train and educate staff on the appropriate and safe use of copy and paste
  • Recommendation D: Monitor, measure, and assess copy and paste practices

Each recommended measure is broken down in a chart, detailing what issue the measure addresses, potential actions that can be taken, the target audience (vendor or provider), and possible solutions. Recommendation A, for example, addresses the concern that an EHR might not differentiate between information that was entered directly into a specific record and information that was copied. Some of the potential solutions the toolkit offers are making copy and pasted text appear in a different font or color or otherwise distinct and easily flagged for review. These solutions would require action on the part of both vendors and healthcare providers and the toolkit acknowledges that solutions that involve changes to technology can’t be implemented immediately.

Other recommended measures, such as education and training, can be addressed by individual healthcare providers. The toolkit suggests providers offer regular hands-on training, demonstrate the correct way to use any new technology, and offer regular feedback to staff.

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