How Electronic Medical Records Can Cause Medical Malpractice
Electronic health records (EHRs) are used by 90% of all medical professionals in the United States. These EHRs are now causing medical negligence which is leading to medical malpractice lawsuits. In fact, the total number of medical malpractice claims involving EHRs has tripled in the last 8 years. The following are 4 reasons EHRs may ultimately be causing medical malpractice by medical professionals.
1.Technological Design Defects
Just like any type of technology, EHRs can also have design defects or flaws. These flaws can prevent doctors from seeing information vital to a patient’s diagnosis, or somehow delete critical information from a patient’s chart. Perhaps some voice-recognition software did not record or transcribe the doctor’s information correctly. Some data could be inadvertently deleted or lost that included a patient’s allergy history or portions of their medical history that would provide a doctor with pertinent information on how to treat a patient. However the defect occurs, it could result in a patient suffering injuries due to the lack of information communicated to, or by, a medical professional.
2. Human Error
Technology is not the only one to blame, humans are to blame as well. Copy and paste errors lead to several cases of medical negligence each year. This simple human error inputs the incorrect information into the patient’s EHRs, and can cause devastating results when relied upon by doctors.
While copy and paste errors are common, so are simple typographical errors, called “typos.” It may be difficult to believe that a common typo could cause injury or death. But leaving out the word “not” before allergic can change what prescriptions a patient receives. Typing a medication incorrectly could cause an allergic reaction or death. These mistakes can easily rise to the level of medical negligence if injuries were suffered by a patient.
3. Auto-Population Errors
While not exactly a defect, and not a human error, some cases of medical malpractice have been linked to a patient’s medical history being incorrectly auto-populated from an outdated previous electronic copy. If this auto-population of a patient’s medical chart does not include the most recent or up to date information regarding a patient’s medical tests, allergies or diagnosis, a medical professional could be relying on incorrect data regarding their treatment of a patient.
4. Technology Burnout
The doctor-patient relationship requires that medical professionals are held to a high standard of care for their patients. Communication between a doctor and patient is the only way that a doctor can truly prescribe the best course of action for his/her patient. Unfortunately, EHRs can be both a blessing and a curse. While it can save a great deal of time in some cases, in other cases, updating the EHRs can consume much of a doctor’s time. Doctors regularly experience technology burnout due to their requirement to constantly interact with computer screens and notate their entire conversations and medical advice to patients. Ultimately, these exhausted and burnt out doctors are making negligent errors due to this burdensome requirement to constantly use technology.
Contact an Experienced Attorney Today
The statistics are harrowing. When medical negligence occurs as a result of EMRs, one-fourth of the injuries result in the death of the patient. If you were injured by your doctor, you may have a claim for medical malpractice. Schedule a free initial consultation with the experienced personal injury attorneys at the O’Donnell Law Offices serving clients in Kingston, Wilkes-Barre, Hazleton and Pittston at 570-821-5717 or online today. There is no fee or costs until we win your case.