A recent editorial in the American Journal of Medicine suggests that  the copy and paste function of an EHR is a major concern for maintaining the credibility and accuracy of digitized patient data. The article states that the hazardous functions of copy-and-paste could include problem lists that do not change; copying of notes/errors by house staff; and the loss of the narrative in the patient’s chart documentation.

To address this problem, the editorial suggests that the copy-and-paste function be disabled within the EHR. However, this is a challenge because it is still possible to copy and paste using text saved outside of the EHR- in a word processing document, for example.  Cutting out the copy and paste tendencies of hospital staff will not be an easy feat. It will require behavior change and a different perspective on the electronic health record; the record must have meaning for the patient and those providing care.

As electronic medical records gain in popularity, it must be considered how digital patient charts will affect not only patient provider communication, but also communication between providers and hospital staff. The copy and paste function may have a negative effect on this communication and the credibility of data represented in an electronic chart. This editorial makes a valid argument that the copy-and-paste function may need to be ‘cut’ in order to achieve more accurate and meaningful electronic health record data.