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Electronic Health Records Provide Opportunity for Error

In Ohio and throughout the United States, the digitization of health records is underway. While electronic recordkeeping has advantages, recent reports highlight the need for more vigilance when it comes to the potential for errors.

For many healthcare practitioners, migrating patient medical information to electronic health records (EHRs) is a costly but necessary measure. Some of the advantages from digitizing patient medical information are:

  • Better accessibility to a full patient medical record. Many people see more than one doctor or use several doctors to treat a complex condition.
  • Easy access to accurate medical records yielding reduced wait times in emergency rooms and lowering the possibility of medical mistakes.
  • Reduction in healthcare costs, duplicate tests and unnecessary paperwork.
  • Increased accuracy in tracking prescription histories to avoid drug errors.

However, mistakes are still occurring to the detriment of patients’ safety. A 2012 report on EHR use in healthcare facilities said errors in EHRs can impact a larger group of patients than mistakes made on paper records, and a Bloomberg article published last year increased awareness of the issues surrounding electronic systems by detailing the risks these systems present.

Common EHR errors include:

  • Wrong-time prescription errors
  • Wrong-dose prescription errors
  • Inappropriate use of an automated-stopping function for medication
  • Lab test errors

These errors can cause prolonged hospitalization, unnecessary surgery and even death. It seems that, at present, the disadvantages of EHRs are being realized before the advantages of digitization can be fully appreciated.

If you suffer medical or prescriptive error in Cleveland or the nearby area, speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney to learn about your legal options.

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