Awareness of the care team in electronic health records Academic Article uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Continuity of Patient Care
  • Medical Records
  • Patient Discharge


  • OBJECTIVE: To support collaboration and clinician-targeted decision support, electronic health records (EHRs) must contain accurate information about patients' care providers. The objective of this study was to evaluate two approaches for care provider identification employed within a commercial EHR at a large academic medical center. METHODS: We performed a retrospective review of EHR data for 121 patients in two cardiology wards during a four-week period. System audit logs of chart accesses were analyzed to identify the clinicians who were likely participating in the patients' hospital care. The audit log data were compared with two functions in the EHR for documenting care team membership: 1) a vendor-supplied module called "Care Providers", and 2) a custom "Designate Provider" order that was created primarily to improve accuracy of the attending physician of record documentation. RESULTS: For patients with a 3-5 day hospital stay, an average of 30.8 clinicians accessed the electronic chart, including 10.2 nurses, 1.4 attending physicians, 2.3 residents, and 5.4 physician assistants. The Care Providers module identified 2.7 clinicians/patient (1.8 attending physicians and 0.9 nurses). The Designate Provider order identified 2.1 clinicians/patient (1.1 attending physicians, 0.2 resident physicians, and 0.8 physician assistants). Information about other members of patients' care teams (social workers, dietitians, pharmacists, etc.) was absent. CONCLUSIONS: The two methods for specifying care team information failed to identify numerous individuals involved in patients' care, suggesting that commercial EHRs may not provide adequate tools for care team designation. Improvements to EHR tools could foster greater collaboration among care teams and reduce communication-related risks to patient safety.

publication date

  • December 2011



  • Academic Article



  • eng

PubMed Central ID

  • PMC3345520

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.4338/ACI-2011-05-RA-0034

PubMed ID

  • 22574103

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 395

end page

  • 405


  • 2


  • 4