Electronic Medical Records Don’t Guarantee Patient Safety

Efforts to improve patient safety have been made with the development and increased use of electronic medical records. The belief is that it may help prevent or reduce risk of medical mistakes. 

But new findings recently published in JAMA Internal Medicine, indicate that with so much more information now available, it can cause healthcare providers to miss critical facts. 

In fact, a survey of nearly 2,600 VA primary care doctors found that approximately 30 percent had missed test results for patients. The reason? Information clutter. 

So although communication and maintenance of records is easier, it also means receiving a lot of non-essential info. Some may find it difficult to sort through all of it and focus on what’s most urgent. 

Common Problems with Electronic Records and Patient Safety 

One potential problem that can occur is with the simple act of copying and pasting old information, or making notes and not updating the status. A note indicating to provide a particular form of treatment that is mistakenly copied and pasted when it had already been done could lead to unnecessary treatment or an overdose of medication. 

Inputting data incorrectly is another problem. Not paying attention to what’s being entered into the system can result in serious consequences. Mistakes can also be made when staff isn’t properly trained on how to use the equipment. 

The equipment itself could be faulty, too, as software programs may contain glitches. As a result of these problems, patients could go without necessary treatment, receive the wrong kind of treatment, or even be subjected to an overdose of medication. 

When a patient is injured as a result of medical negligence it could result in filing a claim. The law firm of Gacovino, Lake & Associates may be able to help patients dealing with the consequences of a medical mistake related to errors in the electronic medical records.

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