These days, virtually every medical malpractice has electronic health records (EHRs). Electronic health records make it easy to create, find, update, and store patient information. However, according to Medical Economics, EHRs can also be a factor in medical malpractice claims.
A 2017 study by the Doctors Company revealed that EHR medical malpractice claims are on the rise. From 2014 through 2016, there were about 30 medical malpractice claims. Most of the malpractice claims involve:
- Medication and prescription errors
- Diagnostic errors
- Treatment errors in ambulatory surgical care (ASC) settings
Any error can lead to death or serious injury.
Why EHR mistakes happen
Electronic health record mistakes are due to a variety of factors including:
- Failure to input the patient’s information accurately
- Failure to access the information needed to provide proper care
- Demanding workloads which can result in the doctor or other health providers not taking the time to enter the information
Failures can happen – even when hospitals and medical practices are using the most current software – because:
- There are bugs/mistakes in the software
- There’s a computer virus
- The computer goes down when the physician needs it
- The information may be fragmented
- A lack of standard interfaces between computers in an office
- Using different software and different systems instead of having an integrated computer system for all electronic health records
Technology professionals recommend health providers look at different ways to reduce the time for data entry such as auto-populating data which assures a patient name is only entered once instead of multiple times. Nevertheless, providers should be careful; short-cuts can also lead to patient data errors.
What steps medical practices should be taking to reduce the risk of EHR errors
IT professionals recommend that medical practices that using electronic health records conduct regular audits. These audits should review:
- Who has the authority to enter data
- If the right information is being entered
- If the staff is properly trained
- If the staff understands how to query the database of EHRs
- The company’s EHR policy
- Which doctors, nurses, receptionists, and technicians aren’t complying with company EHR policy
- Any test runs to determine if there are software or security problems
Medical organizations should support clinicians and doctors by allocating time for efficient data entry. They should respond to any computer alerts that there are problems such as the data entry complications. Many practices fail to update their software or invest in new programs as their practices get bigger.
At Bailey & Greer, PLLC, our lawyers represent patients hurt by medical mistakes and the families of loved ones killed due to medical malpractice. We handle claims for diagnostic errors, surgical malpractice, childbirth injuries, prescription mistakes, anesthesia errors, and other types of medical malpractice. We have the experience and resources, including working relationships with many doctors, to help you get justice. We represent people across West Tennessee including Memphis and Jackson. For help now, call 901-680-9777 or fill out our contact form.