Physician Practice

Study: Patient photos in electronic records reduce medical errors

Medical Environment Update, February 7, 2021

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by Brian Ward

It’s never been easier to take and send photos these days. Healthcare providers can use that fact to prevent patient harm. A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has proven for the first time that wrong-patient errors decrease when the electronic health record (EHR) includes a patient photo.

Researchers found that the risk of wrong-patient order events (WPOE) decreased by about 30% when a photo was included in the medical record (odds ratio 0.72; 95% confidence interval 0.57–0.89).

“In this historical cohort study, displaying patient photographs in the banner of the EHR was associated with a statistically significant reduction of WPOE errors in the ED,” the authors wrote. “The effect size associated with this strategy was larger than in previously published interventions aimed at reducing WPOE errors, and this strategy has the advantage of being noninterruptive in nature.”

This is an excerpt from a member only article. To read the article in its entirety, please login or subscribe to Medical Environment Update.

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