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Five reasons data inaccuracies occur in EMRs

Studies have shown in recent years that the quality of data in many electronic medical records is often not very good. According to Peter Witonsky, president and chief sales officer at iSirona, this is largely due to simple inaccuracies that occur more often than we think.

"A lot of these fall into the same category, in my mind, but it's different ways of getting to that category," said said Witonsky. "That latency of data is terrible. We have customers, prior to us, with eight to 10 hours in latency of data, and that's not uncommon. It's not the end of the world, but there are tons and tons of examples of what latency of data will do to decision making on the other side."

Witonsky highlights five reasons why data inaccuracies occur in EMRs.

1. Simple miskeying. Although it may be easy and "quite common," said Witonsky, the main way data inaccuracies tend to occur is because of simple miskeying. "If you look at any nurse of any floor, there's about 1,000 or over 1,000 data elements a shift that person is responsible for," he said. "So if you're an ICU nurse, and you're taking vitals and other critical information every 15 minutes, or if you're a low acuity nurse and you have for patients to be responsible for, it seems to average out just north of 1,000 data elements." And to expect a nurse to key in those elements with 100 percent accuracy isn't a realistic goal, Witonsky said. "The idea any person [can do that] is ludicrous," he said.

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