Lots of advancements in technology have improved how we address many things
in our lives, including medical care. While electronic health records
make it easier to organize and access patient information, however, it
has also presented some serious challenges and risk to patient safety.
In the past 10 years alone, the number of medical malpractice claims that
involve electronic health records has increased. How is it possible that
this innovation in technology has actually produced more risks for patients?
The Risks Associated with Electronic Health Records
Any time you deal with a computerized system, there is a potential for
it to fail. How can this harm a patient? If a support alert malfunctions
on the system, this might lead a doctor to prescribe the wrong medication.
The following are also common problems that electronic health records
can contribute to:
Copy and paste: Errors in diagnosis are some of the most common avoidable mistakes made
as a result of copying and pasting information. In fact, some doctors
frequently enter identical progress notes for different patients, cutting
and pasting from one person to the next. A patient’s condition could
potentially deteriorate without any mention of it appearing on his or
her record, resulting in a delay of necessary treatment. How common are
these errors? It is estimated that copy and paste errors account for 14%
of all medical malpractice claims that involve electronic health record
errors. Additionally, the misuse of templates frequently occurs and, in
many cases, medical staff fails to replace the template example with the
Inappropriate use of shortcuts: Shortcuts are great. They can save time, make things easier, and allow
people to focus on more important tasks. However, when shortcuts in technology
are misused, this can result in errors. A medical provider could check
the wrong box, menu item, or not notice that auto-complete pre-populated
incorrect information for a patient.
Failure to obtain consent: This is another dangerous side effect of electronic health records. It
is possible for medical personnel to incorrectly capture an electronic
signature that could give consent before a patient has a chance to actually
agree to a treatment or procedure.
Ignored alerts: When there are too many alerts for too many things, medical personnel
will eventually begin to start ignoring or dismissing some of them because
they can be distracting. Unfortunately, this can become a problem when
the alert is trying to prevent a doctor from prescribing a medication
that could negatively interact with another prescription a patient is
Shared passwords: In a doctor’s office or in a hospital facility, it is not unusual
for individuals to share passwords or to stay logged into a system. This
makes it impossible to figure out who was responsible for an error, increases
the likelihood of a doctor or other healthcare professional logging into
the wrong file, and presents a major security risk since it makes it easier
for hackers to steal patient data.
Orlando Medical Malpractice Attorney
At The Maher Law Firm, our team of
medical malpractice attorneys in Orlando has defended the rights of those harmed by negligent
healthcare providers for over 40 years. If you sustained an injury as
a result of a medical professional’s failure to uphold the accepted
standard of medical care, you could have a viable case and secure the
compensation you deserve and need during this difficult time.
For the skilled legal representation that can make a difference in your case,
contact us today at (855) 338-0720 to schedule a free initial case evaluation.