Bungled Electronic Medical Records Result in Malpractice Lawsuits
Electronic Health Records or EHR have been involved in a number of cases that turned into medical malpractice lawsuits. The question then becomes: How does this happen and why does it continue to happen?
Think about all of the information that your electronic health records contain and how vital this information is to achieving successful medical outcomes. For example, if a doctor doesn’t know which medications you’re allergic to or what recent surgeries you’ve had, it could cause a fatal mistake.
EHRs are now used by 90% of doctors. But they have contributed to medical malpractice lawsuits. In this article, we’ll discuss how.
Design Flaws in the Software
It would be typical for the creator of a product to face liability if their product was defective. Unfortunately, software is not considered a product. It’s considered a service. For that reason, EHR can include liability waivers in their contracts that shift liability onto the doctor. This creates a problem for patients because medical malpractice lawsuits are complicated by legal barriers that make them more difficult to file.
Copy/Paste and Auto-Populate Errors
If you attempt to copy all the data from one medical record and paste it into another medical record, you need to be certain that the computer is allotting the information to the correct fields. If it isn’t, then the information may not be entirely accessible or it may be stored in the wrong place.
Another problem facing EHR software is auto-populate. If you begin typing something into Google, you’ll notice that Google attempts to guess what you’re typing. It saves you typing time, so it’s great. However, it’s less great when it comes to medical records software. If the doctor or nurse doesn’t ensure that the exact correct information is in the field, this could lead to a regrettable outcome.
Inaccurate or Outdated Patient Information
EHR software is only as good as the data that’s been entered into it. The health records need to have accurate and up-to-date information. But getting all these various doctors to use the software and then update it correctly has been challenging. Further, the records must not only be updated in the attending doctor’s records, but for all the other doctors too. This means that the software needs to communicate with other doctor’s records and update the information.
While doctors are still expected to ask their patients about medications and surgeries and should not rely on the EHR to provide them with complete, accurate, and up-to-date information, there is a tendency to over-rely on the technology in the course of medical care and treatment.
So it’s still the purview of the doctor to ensure that they conduct a complete initial evaluation when treating a patient. However, in cases of an emergency, a doctor may not be able to talk directly to the patient. And this is where EHR software needs to improve.
Talk to a Tampa Medical Malpractice Attorney
If you’ve been the victim of medical negligence, the Tampa medical malpractice attorneys at Palmer | Lopez can help you sue the negligent doctor and recover damages related to your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Call today to schedule a free consultation.