Electronic Health Records: “Copy and Paste” Errors

Electronic Health Records (EHRs) have been touted as one of the cornerstones for the modernization of medical practice. So who is complaining about them? A hospital Director of Internal Medicine has recently submitted a letter to the editor to the American Journal of Medicine complaining that the "copy and paste" function within a medical record is so easy to use, and misuse, that many physicians are getting a little sloppy in constructing their entries into patient medical records. This is an interesting dilemma in that, due to the private nature of medical records, only the physician who authors the EHR can edit and correct it. It makes one wonder if the design of the EHR shouldn't encourage more narrative development and less copying, cutting and pasting. Time to add a "Sister Mary Get Your Grammar Straight" function to that EHR form?