Health Risks Caused by Electronic Health RecordsJuly 11, 2017
Electronic Health Records (EHRs) are used to improve patient safety, reduce medical errors, and establish a more effective workflow. However, research indicates that EHR-related medical malpractice claims may be on the rise. While the percentage of EHR claims are not significant, the associated costs are disproportionately high. EHR-related mishaps can be extremely costly and quite harmful to patients when these mistakes occur.
According to research from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), despite the overall infrequency of IT-related malpractice claims, these events often resulted in significant harm to the patient. In fact, over 80 percent of EHR-related cases resulted in moderate to severe harm to the patient. In addition, the problem is likely to become more widespread as more hospitals and healthcare facilities use EHRs, reports the Medical Director at The Doctors Company, a medical malpractice insurance company based in Napa, California.
The research highlights several potential problems that need to be eliminated in order to avoid EHR-related malpractice suits, most of which are associated with user error. The following are examples of potential medical malpractice landmines:
- Copy and paste: In an effort to save time, doctors often copy notes from previous appointments, editing the notes as deemed appropriate. However, problems arise if the physician fails to update the changes. In addition, constant copying can result in multiple pages of notes, making it more likely that a significant piece of information can get overlooked. Moreover, drop-down menus can be a source of user error if a physician clicks the wrong field on the menu.
- Clinical decision support (CDS) alerts: CDS alerts offer clinically relevant educational materials to the health care practitioner. If ignored, it can have a negative impact on the patient and the physician will then need to document why they ignored the CDS alert.
- Missing information: In addition to user error, poor technology design can also cause issues, such as missing test results that allow the physician to make a proper diagnosis. This usually occurs when a new system has been implemented.
- Use of templates: If a template contains old information that is carried forward, serious problems can arise. Physicians should always proofread templates for future use.
Baltimore Medical Malpractice Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Advocate for Victims of Medical Errors
If your health has been compromised due to an EHR-related error, you are urged to contact the experienced and dedicated Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton as soon as possible. If we determine that the healthcare provider who was treating you made a medical mistake that caused you harm, we will pursue legal action on your behalf and seek the maximum financial compensation you deserve. To set up a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent medical malpractice victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.