Author Archives: Rebecca Vesely

About Rebecca Vesely

Rebecca Vesely is AHCJ's topic leader on health information technology and a freelance writer. She has written about health, science and medicine for AFP, the Bay Area News Group, Modern Healthcare, Wired, Scientific American online and many other news outlets.

Report highlights patient safety issues with EHRs and the opioid epidemic

Photo: The.Comedian via Flickr

While technology alone cannot solve the opioid epidemic, it can play an important role in reducing overprescribing and co-prescribing opioids with other drugs that can raise the risk of overdose. A new report has offered recommendations on improving technologies in clinical settings for safer prescribing practices.

The ECRI Institute, a respected patient safety research nonprofit, and the HIMSS Electronic Health Record Association, an electronic health records (EHR) trade group, convened a workgroup to analyze health IT data from patient safety organizations and other sources. Continue reading

The patient matching problem and ideas on how to solve it

It seems obvious that for physicians to deliver the best care they should have accurate records on each patient’s medical history, including diagnoses, lab results, imaging, medications, surgeries, etc.

But linking electronic patient medical records across institutions and time – called interoperability – requires something that no one seems to have figured out how to do on a large scale: patient matchingContinue reading

Why we should use caution when reporting on AI in medicine

Photo: Roger Mommaerts via Flickr

Hospitals and health systems are jumping into artificial intelligence (AI) in an effort to help physicians better analyze images and other clinical data. But reporters should be careful about overstating the value that these new tools can bring to clinical decision-making.

Radiology is the medical specialty probably most associated with AI today because of the tantalizing possibility that computers could help radiologists read images more quickly, enabling earlier diagnoses and treatment.

Continue reading

Report offers scenarios on how EHRs can pose safety risks to patients – and questions reporters should ask

Photo: Blake Facey via Flickr

Poor usability and design flaws of electronic health records (EHRs) can pose safety risks to patients, according to recent studies.

A recently-issued report urges more oversight and post-market testing to ensure that EHRs don’t inadvertently harm patients. The report was the result of a collaboration of the Pew Charitable Trusts, the American Medical Association and MedStar Health’s National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare.

The 57-page report may be helpful for journalists who seek to familiarize themselves with some of the existing usability problems with EHRs, and how they can pose a risk to patients. Continue reading

Apple Watch Series 4 unveiling draws thoughtful coverage

Health reporters provided rich context – and a dose of skepticism – around Apple’s introduction of the Apple Watch Series 4, which included an electrocardiogram (ECG) app and fall detection capabilities.

In case you missed it, the big news was that Apple received Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance for its electrical heart rate sensor that can take an ECG using a new enabled app. The app can detect signs of atrial fibrillation (AFib), an irregular heartbeat that can lead to stroke, blood clots and other heart complications. Continue reading