Hundreds of medication errors linked to electronic health records

Technological advances within the medical community are credited with vastly improving the qualify of America’s healthcare system. Today, robots aide doctors in performing numerous surgical procedures and a variety of medical devices have improved both the quality and longevity of patients’ lives.

While there is no doubt these types of technological advances have many benefits, some worry about possible problems that may arise if doctors, nurses and hospitals rely too heavily upon technology.

Today, hospitals and medical providers are required to use Electronic Health Records to track and chart patients’ health. While proponents of EHRs often cite the technology with helping reduce medical errors, a recent report coming out of one state shows over reliance on EHRs is actually contributing to hundreds of medical mistakes.

Over the span of several years, authorities at the state agency discovered more than 300 medication errors. Many of these errors were traced back to an over reliance on automatic settings in the EHR systems of several hospitals. While hospitals readily employ these types of settings to improve efficiency, in some cases automatic settings directly contributed to potentially dangerous medical errors.

Medication errors related to improper dosage or span of time were most commonly cited in the report. While thankfully in these cases no patients appear to have suffered serious harm or injury, many more errors likely went unreported and may have adversely impacted the health and wellbeing of hundreds or even thousands of patients.

Illinois residents who have suffered physical harm as result of a medication error may choose to take legal action. In many cases, such errors can be directly traced back to a doctor or nurse and may be the result of automatic EHR settings ordered and employed by a hospital.

Source: Tribune Media, “Errors in default settings of electronic medical record systems raise risks for patients,” Alex Nixon, Sep. 6, 2013

Medication Errors


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