The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009 (HITECH) and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) encouraged medical facilities to improve medical recordkeeping. Unfortunately, the adoption of Electronic Health Records (EHRs) came with many side effects that contributed to patient injuries and a rise in medical malpractice claims.
Filing and handling successful medical malpractice claims demand a high level of expertise. Our personal injury attorneys in Baton Rouge at the Law Offices of L. Clayton Burgess are experienced in tackling medical malpractice cases and explaining the legal options available to you.
In this post, let’s take a look at how a study conducted by The Doctors Company gives insights on the rise in EHR-related malpractice claims. As per the researchers, there were almost 161 medical malpractice claims from the year 2011 to 2016.
Here are some of the reasons why EHR-related malpractice claims are on the rise:
>> Errors in documenting clinical findings
Just like erroneous traditional paper records, errors while charting or incomplete charting still occur. As per the research conducted by The Doctors Company, there are specific risks associated with ‘copy and paste’. Also, bugs and system crashes may impact accurate documentation.
>> Additional responsibilities on medical professionals
With the use of EHR, it gets easier to transmit and record imaging results. However, it also puts additional responsibilities on the physicians who are responsible for all the medical information. There is a provision of metadata embedded in EHR systems which makes it easier to track whether a record was checked, at what time, and by whom.
>> Entering details
Entering prescriptions, orders, and other documentation into the EHR has become a widely accepted practice. However, reports provided by The Doctors Company estimates that 10-15 percent details contain errors. Thus, failure to act on information enhances the chances of liability.
>> Clinical decisions
EHRs’ clinical decisions must be supported for compliance. However, after clinical decisions, the ultimate responsibility lies with the doctor. Ideally, all the clinical decisions must be considered carefully. It’s important to understand that the content of the EHR may not align with the needs of the patients, thereby increasing chances of liability.
>> Auto populates from older notes
EHRs often auto-populate from older notes and templates. There are instances when auto-population causes erroneous data to get recorded. Inaccurate data, in turn, leads to medical malpractice. So, it’s crucial to cross-check all the data and ensure that it has the correct information.
>> Access to crucial details
Using passwords, medical staff get access to review, update, or sign off on lab and imaging results. Such activities could result in reports being filed without any physician reviewing it. Such instances can lead to serious medical malpractice cases.
>> Alert fatigue
EHRs are enabled with alerts which notify the physician. However, alert fatigue is a problem in EHRs. Thus, it’s advisable not to disable or override any alerts. Alert fatigue issues need to get resolved at the earliest to prevent chances of medical practice.
The system and user factors should not come as a surprise to medical professionals. There are problems associated with electronic records which include access, integration, and data security. It’s therefore essential for organizations to adopt the most suitable policies to ensure that all the data is monitored adequately. To curb medical malpractice cases and maximize the benefits of EHRs, healthcare providers need to remain vigilant to all the risks.
If you or someone you love has become a victim of medical malpractice, a thorough understanding of the type of problem is essential. Moreover, handling medical malpractice cases demand in-depth legal knowledge. Our personal injury attorneys in Baton Rouge, LA at the Law Offices of L. Clayton Burgess are adept at tackling complicated medical malpractice cases with ease.