Do electronic medical records lead to fewer physician errors?

Chicago readers are probably aware of the kind of confusion that can be caused by simple miscommunication. But when miscommunication results in a medication error that causes a patient to become sick, it isn’t a simple error. That’s why it’s important for readers to be aware that you have rights. If you or someone you love was injured because of a mistake made by a medical provider, it’s important to contact a medical malpractice attorney right away.

In an effort to reduce the number of medical malpractice claims taking place, some physicians are beginning to use electronic medical records. Research has shown that electronic health records improve both quality and safety. As a result, adverse events caused my medical mistakes are prevented and the number of malpractice claims are reduced.

In a recent study, malpractice cases for 275 physicians were tracked. Of the physicians, 33 had been the subject of a medical malpractice claim. Of these claims, 49 involved events that had taken place before physicians had adopted new electronic health records. Only two of the claims occurred after adopting the new records.

Those who are pushing medical providers to move toward the electronic records say that it makes it easier for doctors to identify problems including medication conflicts and allergies. Advocates also say that the electronic records make it easier for doctors to communicate with patients and other physicians. Because of the high cost associated with making the switch from paper to electronic records, the medical world hasn’t embraced the switch. Some physicians believe electronic records may cause more errors.

Source: US News & World Report, “E-Records Linked to Fewer Malpractice Claims,” Randy Dotinga, June 25, 2012

Medication Errors


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