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The problem with electronic health records

Many doctors and health care offices have been transitioning their patient record systems to electronic health records. While this seems like a more streamlined, accessible system, it can also mean it’s easier for errors to make their way on to patient health records, which may increase the risk of medical malpractice incidents.

Many times, patient information is put in to the records via a laptop or tablet that the health care provider takes into the room during the patient’s appointment. These forms usually have specific fields for the practitioner to fill in and dropdown menus that make classifying the diagnoses or filling out some of the information quicker. However, it’s also very easy for the wrong choice to be selected either by a clicking error or if the practitioner accidentally presses a key on the keyboard before moving on to the next box.

Once an error is part of a patient’s medical record, it can cause problems in many different areas down the line. For instance, a drug allergy that does not get properly recorded or that is accidentally erased from the chart could lead to the patient being prescribed an incorrect medication and experiencing adverse side effects.

Problems with electronic health records may also be classified as a physician error in and of itself if the inaccuracy results in an adverse patient outcome. If you have experienced problems as a result of problems with electronic health records, a medical malpractice attorney can help you understand your options and what your next steps should be if you wish to pursue legal recourse.

Source: iHealthBeat, “EHRs Increasingly Included in Medical Malpractice Lawsuits,” May. 05, 2015