Although electronic health or medical records (EHRs or EMRs) have, in many ways, improved patient care, there have also been instances where a health care professional’s reliance on them has caused some severe damage. In one particular instance, EMRs have even caused anesthesia errors, leading to a patient becoming paralyzed from the waist down.
In fact, EHRs have become such an issue that they were recently the subject of a session at a health conference titled “When EHRs Cause Patient Harm: Lessons from Malpractice,” where experts distinguished between unsafe technology–which health care providers typically cannot control (for example, how lists appear in dropdown windows)–and unsafe use, where a lack of careful implementation can lead to harming patients— sometimes permanently. One example of this is might be deciding what kind of information is transferred from one patient database to another, and in the process, potentially excluding crucial information for several patients and resulting in permanent harm to any one of those patients.
Even doctors themselves have pointed out that, although EHRs can offer some opportunities to improve health care, they can also be an unforeseen liability. For example, if there are crucial details about a patient placed in a note section but not in any area that translates to the paper chart that a surgeon is provided with, patients could, for example, be provided with a medication that causes them to suffer from complications, such as respiratory arrest.
Other doctors have pointed to additional issues, such as difficulty maintaining a listener-oriented relationship with patients and concluding that—although EMRs may improve information sharing—they do not necessarily translate to better medical care.
To prevent such disasters, experts advocate for strengthening communications and partnerships between IT assistance in the health care fields and those who work with them on behalf of health care providers, making IT workers part of the care team so that each sides understands the full range of potential health care issues involved.
Medical Malpractice Attorneys
Medical malpractice is not limited to massive errors made during major procedures, but can translate to simple oversights, such as failing to notice a crucial detail about a patient and this error leading to an act that damages the patient’s health. If a health care provider commits an error which causes a patient to sustain an injury, a civil lawsuit may be brought to seek monetary damages for the patient’s and their family’s losses.
At Dana & Dana, our attorneys will draw on years of experience to recognize fault, assess the damage, and put our firm’s resources to obtain the best result. If you or a loved one has suffered due to a health care provider’s mistake, we can help. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.