Sutter Health Nurses Say EHR Is Problematic, According to CNA
Nurses at Sutter Health hospitals in the East San Francisco Bay Area say that an electronic health record system is endangering patient safety and decreasing efficiency, according to a release by the California Nurses Association, the Sacramento Business Journal reports.
Details of Complaints
According to CNA, nurses at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center -- both the Berkeley and Oakland campuses -- have filed more than 100 complaints about the EPIC EHR system (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 7/17).
Specific problems cited by the nurses include:
- Delays in care;
- Erroneous medication orders;
- Missed orders for laboratory tests;
- Excessive amounts of time needed to use the system;
- Physicians incorrectly entering orders;
- Discrepancies between the EPIC software and the hospitals' computers;
- Missing patient information;
- Inability to chart specific patient needs or conditions because of software limitations; and
- Inadequate training and orientation (CNA release, 7/11).
Mike Hill -- a nurse at Alta Bates -- in the release said the EHR system "is neither nurse-friendly [nor] patient-friendly." He added that the system "takes time away from the bedside and my patients -- and prevents me from providing the absolute best care that they and I expect."
Response to Criticisms
Carolyn Kemp, a hospital spokesperson, said that switching to an EHR system was required by law and that officials were unaware of any problems related to using the system.
Kemp said, "Not only have more staff and physicians been pleased with the new system, the Joint Commission, on three separate occasions during their normal visits, said how extremely impressed they were with the proficiency of our staff."
In addition, she said that the complaints come amid "a protracted labor dispute" between CNA and the hospital, adding, "It's also important to note that CNA nurses use the same platform at Kaiser [Permanente] and are not making allegations there" (Sacramento Business Journal, 7/17).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.