Research published finds that the laboratory graphs displayed by many commercial EHRs present information in potentially dangerous ways.

The authors urged ONC to stringently oversee testing of the software - although FDA has said it won't regulate it.

The study published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association examined the presentation of clinical lab test results in eight EHRs and found that most failed to graph the data in completely clear ways.

One of the EHRs presented data points in reverse chronological order while another used equally spaced data points over unequal periods of time. Since the information depicted things like diabetics' blood sugar levels, the deficiencies "could have significant, negative impact on patient safety," wrote the authors led by Dean Sittig of the University of Texas Health Science Center and Hardeep Singh of the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center and Baylor College of Medicine. They noted that a law introduced by Sens. Orrin Hatch and Michael Bennet in the fall would prohibit regulation of such software and that an FDA report last April said the agency would not regulate it.

The authors write: "We recommend policymakers ensure clear and accurate visual display of laboratory data through more stringent [ONC] certification testing criteria."

See Graphical Display of Diagnostic Test Results in Electronic Health Records: A Comparison of 8 Systems

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