Symptoms Reported by Patients Often Do Not Match Those in EHR

There’s a disconnect between what patients report as symptoms and what information is recorded in the electronic health record (EHR), a new study has found.

Researchers found that symptoms patients reported on a questionnaire at an eye center, from blurry vision to pain or discomfort, frequently did not match what was recorded in the EHR, according to the study published in JAMA Ophthalmology.

“Symptom reporting was inconsistent between patient self-report on an ESQ and documentation in the EHR, with symptoms more frequently recorded on a questionnaire. These results suggest that documentation of symptoms based on EHR data may not provide a comprehensive resource for clinical practice or “big data” research.” The researchers found “fair to poor agreement” in the data between the ESQs and EHRs with ESQs recording more positive occurrences in the eye symptom categories of glare, pain or discomfort, and redness.

While the EHRs are intended to improve the quality of data in clinical workflows, the researchers found that reporting discrepancies between the ESQs and EHRs indicate poor communication of data.