Displaying patient photos in electronic health records reduces hospital order errors

Adding patients’ photographs to the banner of electronic health records (EHRs) enhanced patient identification and significantly reduced wrong-patient order errors in a hospital emergency department, according to an AHRQ-funded study in JAMA Network Open. Researchers evaluated more than 2.5 million nursing, medication, diagnostic and other orders for about 72 000 hospital patients. They used the rate of retract-and-reorder events as the outcome measure and noted that this rate was 186 per 100 000 orders for patients with no photograph in their EHRs and 133 per 100 000 orders for patients with photographs. Unlike previous interventions that interrupt clinicians, this solution did not add to practitioners’ time burden or risk of alert fatigue, according to researchers.

JAMA Netw Open. 2020 Nov 2;3(11):e2019652. Doi : 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.19652.