Medical Malpractice and Electronic Health Records

As doctor’s offices and hospitals move to being paperless, electronic health records are quickly becoming the norm. Electronic health records are a digital version of a patient’s medical history and chart. They should contain detailed information about a patient’s medical history and treatment. These records provide many benefits, including the ability to share access to records across a number of different healthcare settings. However, as with any new technology, there can be errors that can lead to serious consequences. Medical professionals should not abandon the standard of care when using electronic health records.

Electronic Health Record Errors

There are a number of different situations where an error with electronic health records can lead to injury to a patient, including:

  • Doctors cutting and pasting progress notes—an analysis by medical malpractice insurer The Doctors Company found that this led to 58% of medical malpractice claims involving electronic health records that they examined. The failure to write new progress notes can result in important details of a patient’s health being left undocumented.
  • Failure of alert systems—the analysis found that this was a factor in 50% of medical malpractice claims. These failures can be caused by errors in the system as well as “alert fatigue” when providers become so used to seeing alerts that they begin to ignore them. This can lead to providers failing to timely respond to medical emergencies.
  • Lack of integration—one of the purposes of electronic health records is to make it easier to share these records among different providers. When a medical professional fails to share these records as required, important details about a patient’s medical history can be missed.
  • Data entry error—often electronic health records require a user to check certain boxes and add information where necessary. A failure to properly enter data into a patient’s record can result in miscommunications regarding a patient’s medical history or required medications.
  • Lack of back up processes—because of the risk of technical issues, doctors and hospitals must have appropriate backup processes in place so that they can continue to provide quality care in the face of technological failure.

While electronic health records are important to the future of medicine and can be very useful tools, doctors and hospitals must still be mindful of the limitations of these systems if they are not used correctly. Failing to do so can lead to serious consequences for patients.

Contact an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you’ve been injured due to the negligence of a medical professional, you should have experienced medical malpractice attorney evaluate your case. At Bonina & Bonina, P.C., we have over 50 years of experience helping New Yorkers injured by medical malpractice. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MEDLAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla español