Electronic medical records far from perfect
Posted by Brendan Faulkner of D'Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC on Jun 23, 2013 in Doctor Errors
Technology is often seen as the solution to many problems. GPS devices help people find their way around. Cellphones have improved communication. In nearly every aspect of a person's life, it is likely that technology advances have been an improvement. However, this is not to say that new technology is perfect. In fact, in many areas, it is far from perfect.
For example, many hospitals in Connecticut and facilities across the country have been adopting higher technology when it comes to medical records. About 69 percent of U.S. physicians keep medical records electronically. These electronic records have addressed the issues with some problems, but studies show that keeping records digitally is proving to be the source of many other medical errors and complications.
Digital health records were initially seen as an improvement to paper health records. It is an easier way to keep track of and transfer information and it decreases the errors that are made by reading and misinterpreting a doctor's illegible handwriting. As the technology improved and became a widely adopted process, people may have wrongly assumed that medical record errors were a thing of the past.
With the new technology, there have been reports of mistakes being made that were rarely, if ever, made when records were kept on paper. Doctors have difficulty navigating confusing drop-down menus and make mistakes when choosing medication dosing. Network issues create delays in updating and accessing data. And in some cases, information simply disappears from the records. Each of these troublesome issues puts a patient in serious danger.
Errors can be made during any stage of a hospital visit. Whether these mistakes are made in medical records or in the emergency room, patients and their families have the right to be informed about an error and to hold negligent parties responsible when a person' health is put in jeopardy.
Source: Bloomberg, "Digital Health Records' Risks Emerge as Deaths Blame on Systems," Jordan Robertson, June 25, 2013