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Use of dictation as a tool to decrease documentation errors in electronic health records.

  • Al Hadidi, Samer1
  • Upadhaya, Sunil2
  • Shastri, Rupal3
  • Alamarat, Zain4
  • 1 Hurley Medical Center, Michigan State University, Flint, MI, USA.
  • 2 Internal Medicine Department, Hurley Medical Center/Michigan State University, Flint, MI, USA.
  • 3 Internal Medicine Department, Rush University, Chicago, USA.
  • 4 Pediatrics Department, Hurley Medical Center/Michigan State University, Flint, MI, USA.
Published Article
Journal of Community Hospital Internal Medicine Perspectives
Informa UK (Taylor & Francis)
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2017
DOI: 10.1080/20009666.2017.1379852
PMID: 29147468


Background: Use of Electronic Health Records is increasing. Copy-and-paste function is frequently used with higher rates of documentation errors. Studies to determine the nature of such errors are needed.Objectives: Determination of the effect of implementing a dictation system for completing notes on the quality of clinical documentation. We hypothesized that implementation of the dictation system for note writing would decrease the rate of errors in the progress notes as well as decrease the rate of copying and pasting. Design/Methods: A prospective interventional study in inpatient medical service for six months' duration starting in July 2016. Resident physicians' charts were reviewed by the attending physician on a daily basis. This study was done in a community based hospital affiliated to a university program. Residents' physicians included Internal Medicine, Transitional year and Combined Internal Medicine Pediatrics residents. Charts reviewed for hospitalized patients. A total of 54 residents were offered a pre-intervention survey indicating their subjective use of copy/paste function. Response rate of 85.18%. Progress notes were reviewed on a daily basis for residents on their inpatient rotation. A total of 621 notes were reviewed. Results: Percentage of notes copied prior to the intervention was 92.73% which decreased to 49.71% post-intervention (RR of 0.54, 95% CI 0.48 0.60 Z statistic 11.005 with p-value <0.0001). Of the copied notes percentage of errors pre-intervention was 58% with no errors identified post-intervention (RR of 0.005, 95% CI 0.0003 0.0795 Z statistic 3.752 with p-value 0.0002). Most of the errors are from notes copied by the same author (85.8%). The most common documentation error was in the physical examination section. Conclusion: Implementing a dictation system eliminated documentation errors over our six months' study. Further studies are needed to check long effects of using such systems on documentation errors.

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