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Can electronic health records reduce patient errors?

On Behalf of | Sep 23, 2020 | Medical Malpractice

Due to their limited exposure, patients do not always have a clear understanding of just how many medical professionals revise and interact with their records over the course of treatment. From various specialists and nurses to diagnosticians and pharmacists everyone must make careful notes regarding observations and suggestions. To reduce communication errors, many medical facilities implemented electronic health records as a way of digitally storing patient notes. Unfortunately, this new procedure might introduce as many errors as it eliminates.

As companies in all industries begin exploring the ease and flexibility of digital storage, the medical profession is also evolving. The desire to reduce medical errors is the driving force behind the use of electronic health records (EHR). The goal is to create a single repository of information not hampered by poor handwriting or lost notes. Unfortunately, numerous new errors have creeped into the system, including:

  • Input of incorrect instructions
  • Patient confusion
  • Failure to access most recent data
  • Failure to transmit new information
  • Corrupted files
  • System security issues

Data entry can be an impediment to clear records. Something as simple as a typo can lead to devastating errors in treatment or medication. Additionally, EHR systems do not support a universal user interface so migrating from one system to another will entail a steep learning curve for doctors, nurses and anyone working on data entry. A research report published in 2017 noted that the average number of EHR-related medical malpractice cases have jumped annually.

Unfortunately, even something as simple as the administration of medication can be disrupted by countless data entry errors. From the type of medication and the dosage to interactions and adverse drug events, EHR mistakes can lead to catastrophic complications.

If you were injured or suffered a worsening condition due to unclear reports or haphazard data entry, it is wise to discuss the matter with an experienced medical malpractice attorney.