Electronic Health Records and Medical Malpractice

Electronic Health Records and Medical Malpractice

Posted By Maher Law Firm || 12-Jun-2018

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 real data.
  • 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 currently taking.
  • 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.

Categories: Medical Malpractice
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