Find out how to prepare your audiences to respond if they find errors in their medical records

About Kerry Dooley Young

Kerry Dooley Young (@kdooleyyoung) is AHCJ's core topic leader on patient safety. She has written extensively about the Food and Drug Administration, medical research, health policy and quality measurements. Her work has appeared in Medscape Medical News, Congressional Quarterly/CQ Roll Call and Bloomberg News.

AHCJ Dec 8. webcast panel

Federal laws and rules have opened a path for Americans to have greater access to their medical records. That’s a welcome development, especially with restrictions against information blocking having taken effect in April.

But what happens when patients read their records? Many of them will find errors. That’s why AHCJ will offer a Dec. 8 webinar about how to cover this topic. This panel discussion was inspired by reporting that veteran journalist Cheryl Clark has done for MedPage Today, including a Sept. 14 article titled Open Notes Shines Light on Errors in Patient Medical Records. In a September blog for AHCJ, Clark wrote of her own experience with medical records, including finding summary visit notes from one doctor that “contained 19 errors and a whole section that made no sense.”

“Errors, which Heather Gantzer, M.D., M.A.C.P, told me occur in `100%’ of medical records” can include wrong medications, old problems listed as current problems, a statement that a procedure was performed when it was cancelled and ICD-10 codes for conditions that had nothing to do with the reason the patient went to the doctor in the first place,” Clark wrote in a Sept. 22 blog for  AHCJ.

The estimate of 100% may be too high, although I have to say it closely reflects the experience of the AHCJ folks involved in presenting this webinar.

As AHCJ members tend to seek statistics from studies published in respected medical journals, let me offer you another estimate. Writing in JAMA Network Open in June 2020, researchers from Harvard Medical School, the University of California, University of Michigan, University of Massachusetts, University of Washington School of Medicine and  Geisinger reported on the results of a survey looking at what happened with more than 22,000 patients who had read one or more notes in the past 12 months.

Of these patients, 4830 (21.1%) reported a perceived mistake and 2043 (42.3 %) reported that the mistake was serious, with this group split between replies indicating that the error was somewhat serious (32.4%) and very serious, 9.9%, wrote Catherine (Cait) DesRoches and her co-authors in their paper, titled “Frequency and Types of Patient-Reported Errors in Electronic Health Record Ambulatory Care Notes.”

We’re pleased that DesRoches will be one of the experts in medical records and patient advocacy who will speak at our noon panel on  Wednesday, Dec. 8. Here’s some background on DesRoches and our other distinguished guests:

  • Catherine (Cait) DesRoches, DrPH, the executive director of OpenNotes and an associate professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. OpenNotes is an initiative that seeks to improve communication among patients, families and clinicians. DesRoches is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts, School of Public Health, and the Joseph P. Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University where she received her doctoral degree. She has worked as research scientist and project director for the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Twitter: @cmd418 @myopennotes
  • Deven McGraw is co-founder of the Ciitizen platform at Invitae. Previously she directed U.S. health privacy and security as deputy director for health information privacy at the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights and as chief privacy officer (acting) of the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health IT. She earlier directed the health privacy project at the Center for Democracy & Technology for six years and led the privacy and security policy work for the HITECH Health IT Policy Committee. McGraw graduated from Georgetown University Law Center and earned a Master of Public Health from Johns Hopkins University.  Twitter: @HealthPrivacy @ciitizen
  • Kistein Monkhouse, M.P.A., is the chief executive officer and founder of Patient Orator, a digital health platform addressing health care disparities. She also produced the film, “Humanizing Healthcare.” Monkhouse’s earliest experience in health care included working as a home-care coordinator and as a nursing assistant. She holds a master’s in public administration from Long Island University. Twitter: @KisteinM @patientorator

Please feel free to send me any questions or suggestions you have about this webinar via Twitter @kdooleyyoung or email me at patientsafety@healthjournalism.org.

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