Electronic Health Records and Florida Medical Malpractice Claims
Electronic health records (EHRs) are intended to help health care providers communicate better, update patient medical records in real time, and make the entire doctor-patient encounter more efficient. Unfortunately, the benefits of these solutions have not yet been fully realized. According to a 2017 study released by The Doctor’s Company, a physician-owned medical malpractice insurer, EHRs have been implicated in multiple medical malpractice claims. While they comprised just a small fraction of claims in 2010, the number of medical errors attributed to EHRs more than tripled by 2018.
Though the frequency is still low, many researchers believe that errors linked to the use of technology may become more prevalent as more providers adopt EHRs. A Florida medical malpractice lawyer can provide specific information, but an overview of the problem is informative.
How EHR Leads to Medical Malpractice Claims: The Doctor’s Company assessed various EHR functions and solutions from a wide array of developers. The evaluation revealed that certain types of errors were common, such as:
- Fragmented Records: The patient’s information may not update when a physician issues a prescription or makes a diagnosis, leading to issues with drug interactions or diagnostic mistakes.
- Lack of Access to EHR: This issue occurs frequently in the emergency room setting, where a physician cannot review the patients’ details about allergies, medications, lab screenings, and medical procedures.
- Poor or Inadequate Recordkeeping: Some EHR solutions don’t have features that allow doctors to input notes that may be important for other physicians. They’re limited by check-the-box or drop-down menus.
- Integrations Among Practitioners: Software isn’t always able to communicate, such as between a clinic and hospital, or within different departments of the same hospital.
- Data Conversion Errors: Medical records incorporate different types of files, which means the EHR must perform a conversation. The solution can make mistakes in the conversation, leading to loss of data or unreadable information.
EHR Misuse May Be Medical Negligence: Health care providers and facilities are expected to maintain accurate, adequate medical records. Even when the error is traceable to the EHR through any of the above examples, the ultimate responsibility for treating the patient falls upon the provider. Physicians may be liable for medical malpractice for user errors in connection with EHR, such as:
- Inputting incorrect information into the patient record, i.e., a typo;
- Using pre-populated information to complete all fields of a chart, instead of going through each field;
- Mistakes with cutting and pasting text;
- Slipping when prompted to choose a value from a drop-down menu;
- Not getting sufficient training on the basic functions of the EHR;
- Failing to update patient records or delaying data input; and
- Many other forms of negligence that may be actionable under Florida med mal laws.
Contact a Florida Medical Malpractice Attorney Regarding Your Options
If you have questions or believe that you suffered harm because of an EHR error, please contact our Miami cancer malpractice lawyers at Freidin Brown, P.A. We can set up a free case evaluation at our offices. After we have a chance to review your circumstances, we can advise you on a strategy for proceeding with your legal remedies.