THURSDAY, Nov. 19, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Displaying patient photographs in electronic health records (EHRs) reduces wrong-patient order entry (WPOE), according to a study published online Nov. 11 in JAMA Network Open.

Hojjat Salmasian, M.D., Ph.D., from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and colleagues evaluated whether the noninterruptive display of patient photographs in the banner of electronic health records is associated with a decreased rate of WPOE errors. The analysis included 2,558,746 orders placed for 71,851 unique patients (mean age, 49.2 years; 59.4 percent female; 76.7 percent non-Hispanic).

The researchers found that the risk for WPOE errors was significantly lower when the patient’s photograph was displayed in the EHR (odds ratio, 0.72). When adjusting for potential confounders, the effect size remained similar (odds ratio, 0.57). Among patients with higher acuity levels and among patients whose race was documented as White, the risk for error was significantly lower.

“The results of this study suggest that capturing patient photographs and displaying them in the electronic health record may be a simple and cost-effective strategy for reducing wrong-patient errors,” the authors write.

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