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The dangers of copy-and-paste functionality in electronic health records outweigh the benefits of convenience, according to a new report by the National Institutes of Standards and Technology in conjunction with ECRI and the U.S. Army Medical Research and Material Command.  Interviews with physicians and nurses using the military’s AHLTA EHR uncovered a “high potential risk of entering wrong information in the wrong chart” when copying-and-pasting.  One common error cited in the report: Clinicians forget to review and edit all of the information they reproduce in the records. The report suggests that EHRs should confirm that copied information was read and edited by the provider; recommends that demographic information should never be copied, but auto-populated in all interfaces in a patient chart; and concludes that copying of demographic data from one chart to another should be prohibited, as should copying-and-pasting dates.

For Safety’s Sake, Don’t ‘Copy-and-Paste’ in EHRs