AHRQ Study: Many Electronic Health Record Systems Have Limited Capabilities in Graphing Lab Results
A new AHRQ-funded study found that many electronic health record (EHR) systems have significant limitations in their graphing capabilities for laboratory test results, which could have serious implications for clinical decision-making and patient safety. The study evaluated the graphical displays in eight EHRs using 11 evaluation criteria based on literature and expert opinion. For example, researchers evaluated labeling and data distribution in the test results graphs for accuracy and clarity. Researchers found that many commonly used EHRs did not meet several of the evidence-based criteria aimed at improving provider understanding of laboratory data, with no EHR meeting all 11 criteria. The authors recommended that as EHRs become more widely implemented and used in clinical decision-making, policymakers need to ensure that these systems clearly and accurately display lab results. The study, “Graphical Display of Diagnostic Test Results in Electronic Health Records: A Comparison of Eight Systems,” was published online March 19 in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.