EHR Customization Can Threaten Patient Safety
By David Doolittle


This ever happen with your practice’s electronic health records (EHR)? Documents sent through your EHR’s messaging system didn’t reach the right physician because the system itself wasn’t set up properly.

Or maybe your practice customized its EHR, but those changes caused a mismatch between your laboratory information system (LIS) and your EHR, meaning some results didn’t transfer.

EHRs can be helpful in managing patient records, and they can provide easy access to clinical data — especially when customized to a practice’s workflow and specific needs. But poor management and improper implementation of customizations can lead to safety risks. 

The nonprofit ECRI Institute and the Partnership for Health IT Patient Safety, a collaboration of organizations whose goal is to make health information technology safer, recently published some best practices to follow when customizing EHRs. They include:  


  • Having a rigorous process in place for testing customizations;
  • Training staff thoroughly and assessing potential risks before the customization goes live; and
  • Regularly monitoring and evaluating the customization after it’s been deployed. 


To read the full report, visit the ECRI Institute’s website

The Texas Medical Association recently joined the Partnership for Health IT Patient Safety as part of its education and advocacy efforts to help Texas physicians make sure your practices run safely and efficiently.    

If you have questions about technology and patient safety, contact TMA's Health Information Technology Department by email or call (800) 880-5720.

Last Updated On

April 19, 2018

David Doolittle


(512) 370-1385

Dave Doolittle is editor of Texas Medicine and Texas Medicine Today. Dave grew up in Austin, where he attended culinary school as well as the University of Texas. He spent years covering Central Texas for the Austin American-Statesman newspaper. He is the father of two girls, a proud Longhorn, and an avid motorsports fan.

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