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155 Is the widespread adoption of interconnected electronic health records (EHR’s) contributing to the overdiagnosis problem? Establishing a research agenda
  1. Adam Ranson1,
  2. Davis Maclean1,
  3. Eddy Lang2
  1. 1MD Student, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada
  2. 2Professor of Emergency Medicine, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada


Justification for the Proposed Workshop:

As more medical practices adopt the use of interconnected Electronic Health Records (EHR’s), the issue of overdiagnosis may become increasingly impactful as a single EHR may be accessed by multiple care providers in distinct clinical settings, each with variable pre-existing relationships to the patient. In such contexts, overdiagnosed conditions applied to a patient’s problem list may result in unintended downstream consequences in excess of those that might be expected from the use of more traditional, site-specific paper charts. As such, the widespread use of interconnected EHR’s may exacerbate long-term patient labelling associated with an overdiagnosed condition. Evidencing the need for caution regarding overdiagnosis and the use of EHR’s are studies which have previously shown that patients who have had a misdiagnosed and/or overdiagnosed antibiotic hypersensitivity applied to their EHR are less likely to receive optimal therapy in the future and are therefore exposed to potentially worse clinical outcomes.

Following the recent inclusion of the term ‘overdiagnosis’ to the list of searchable medical subject headings (MeSH) of the US National Library of Medicine, researchers are now able to research the topic of overdiagnosis more efficiently. We propose that a workshop be conducted to draw upon the collective knowledge Preventing Overdiagnosis 2022 Conference attendees with the goal of formalizing a proposed research agenda for topics related to how the use of EHR’s may be contributing to the overdiagnosis problem. As a team of facilitators, the authors of this proposal would plan to lead the attendees of this workshop into separate breakout group discussions each aimed at exploring suggested research topics and their associated ethical considerations.

Suggested Topics for Discussion:

  1. What might patient preferences be regarding the duration that a diagnosis remains on the patient’s problem list? Might these preferences change depending on the diagnosis?

  2. Should approaches be adopted to limit the lifespan of a diagnostic label within an EHR?

  3. What are the potential benefits of a diagnostic label persisting indefinitely within a patient’s EHR? What are the potential harms of a diagnostic label persisting indefinitely within a patient’s EHR?

Projected Outcomes of the Proposed Workshop:

  1. Attendees will gather an increased understanding of this topic through direct discussion with colleagues and subject-matter-experts.

  2. The authors of this proposal would collect the deliberations and conclusions accumulated through this interactive workshop to develop a commentary for publication outlining the specific agenda-items suggested for future research.

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