In recent years, more and more hospitals, clinics, and doctor’s offices are using electronic health records (EHR) to replace the classic pen-and-paper style patient records. No matter how you look at it, this will be the way of the future, as eventually all or the vast majority of documents will be digital. However, until the technology is perfected and completely reliable, little errors are causing some big problems, like incidents of medical malpractice.
How EHR Systems Can Cause Malpractice
For every benefit an electronic and digital system brings when it replaces hard copies, there are potential issues. Everyone knows the frustration of a computer crash, data wipe, or slow processing speed. When these commonplace computer errors occur in a medical setting, the results can be disastrous.
Medical malpractice issues stemming from an EHR system include:
- Typos: It is much easier to overlook a mistake when typing at 100 words per minute than it is when writing by hand. This increased rate at logging information into an EHR system also means there is a significantly higher chance of a mistake going unnoticed, such as recommending the wrong medicine, scheduling the wrong surgery, and so on.
- Fatigue: Physicians, clerks, and medical professionals not accustomed to inputting information on a computer can experience exhaustion and eye strain much faster than the average person. Becoming drowsy at the keyboard could lead to additional errors.
- Incomplete files: Sometimes a file is input correctly but the system doesn’t save it correctly. In other instances, a file transfer may become corrupt and only give a portion of the total patient record, but the physician receiving the file isn’t warned. The result can be using an incomplete patient file when making crucial decisions.
- Wrong medication: A simple coding error could cause a computer to switch a prescription selection from one to another, depending on how the EHR system works and records medicines. Doctors and pharmacists must be particularly careful and watchful whenever using an electronic system for prescription medications.
If you were injured due to a doctor’s mistake, and you believe an electronic health record is partly to blame, you can contact Rash Mueller. Our Miami medical malpractice attorney has 25+ years of legal experience to put to good use during your case. Call 954.914.7116 for more information about our firm’s services.