When a person visits a doctor or emergency room, one of the first questions health care providers ask the patient is if he or she is taking any medications. This is important information for medical professionals, as this could potentially rule out other medications that can be prescribed to help treat an injury or illness.
Some individuals may be taking many different medications for a host of ailments, and it can be difficult to remember them all. Usually, information about current prescriptions is stored on a patient’s medical history, where it can quickly be seen by doctors.
Problems with traditional records
For many years, these medical histories were paper files. All of the relevant medical information was stored in the file, and the file would then be used and updated whenever the patient made subsequent visits. Doctors would add any necessary information, and also include any additional prescriptions.
Frequently, doctors would need to copy the prescription information of the patient by hand. Not surprisingly, this led to many medication errors. Prescriptions were not recorded properly or skipped altogether, which could have a serious impact upon the health of a patient.
Electronic health records
Now, many patients’ medical histories are being recorded in electronic health records. This allows a doctor or medical professional to access a patient’s information on a computer. Any prescriptions that have been fulfilled for the patient will be included in the EHR, which would allow for more complete and accurate data concerning medications.
If medical professionals tried to enter in a prescription that would cause health consequences for the client, the system would alert the user to the potential error. This would then force the doctor or nurse to take a closer look at the patient’s prescriptions, and make changes if necessary.
See a lawyer
Despite these improvements, mistakes can still happen. If you have been adversely affected by a medication error, speak to an experienced medical malpractice attorney in your area to learn about the options that may be available to you. You may be eligible for compensation because of your injuries.
Each case is different, and it will be necessary to review the facts to know if you may have a claim. Do not settle your case with a hospital or insurance provider before you know the extent of your condition. Serious injuries or illnesses may require costly treatment, and you may be unable to recover your expenses if you resolve your case too soon.