The Law Offices of Charles Dunn
Lubbock County Medical Malpractice Attorney
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Electronic health records are not always foolproof

Some patients in Texas may be aware of the increased use of electronic health records by health care providers. EHRs are quickly replacing the paper medical charts in hospitals and doctor offices throughout the county.

These electronic records have their advantages. Like other computerized systems, they can retain a large volume of patient information and are easily accessible by medical providers. Information can be added quickly and accurately in real time. In addition, electronic records are easily transportable from provider to provider.

However, recent research has shown flaws in the EHR method. A recent study demonstrates that it's not the foolproof system some believe it to be. The research was conducted through a review of 9,000 patient safety reports from three institutions over a five year period. The research concentrated on pediatric safety reports.

According to researchers, a majority of the errors contained in the safety reports related to usability issues with EHRs. The issue most often detected was with medication. In cases were dosage was an issue, a vast majority of cases dealt with over medication. In one case, the EHR program failed to alert a doctor who prescribed five times the correct amount of a drug.

The study also alluded to usability issues with EHR programs. Overly cluttered display screens were discussed as a part of the usability issues. Redundancy and verification are the main recommendations of the researchers. Powerful medication dosages should be verified manually before being administered. Furthermore, physicians' orders should be verbally repeated to avoid mistakes or miscommunications.

While advances in technology are important, they can never totally replace sound medical practices. Medical providers are still required to act in a reasonably responsible manner when treating patients. Those who fail to live up to this standard may be guilty of malpractice.

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