The role of electronic medical records in medical malpractice
Advanced technology has infiltrated nearly all areas of daily life, including health care practices. New technology has made it possible for physicians to share medical records, transmit prescriptions and record notes regarding patients’ history, allergies, adverse reactions, conditions and treatments. Just like other types of technology, however, glitches and mistakes can occur. Yet, when mistakes occur with health care records, peoples’ lives are put on the line.
One woman, suffering from excruciating head pain, passed away after the order her doctor electronically sent for a brain scan did not get transmitted to the lab. Another incident involved electronic records software that failed to add patient notes on the right patient’s profile. Some patient’s drug profiles were added to the wrong patients as well. Prescriptions did not show the proper start and stop dates. Lab screenings orders were not transmitted, and if the screenings were conducted, the results were not posted under the right patients. All of these errors could lead to significant patient injuries and even death.
Another issue arises in the fact that electronic health record software may not be user friendly for some physicians. Doctors are clicking through health records all day and may make a wrong click, which could lead to a critical error, such as ordering the wrong prescription medication, screening test or making a misdiagnosis. Failing to make a click could lead to damages as well. As software companies struggle to fix these weak points, doctors and patients should keep on the lookout for potential medical mistakes that could lead to long-term injuries, unnecessary treatments or fatal errors.