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Physicians urged to use care with EHRs to avoid malpractice claim

The information age has changed many aspects of life -- including health care. However, while advances in technology are used to increase efficiency, they can lead to physicians facing a medical malpractice claim if one is not vigilant in the use of technology at all times. Some medical providers in New York are already facing claims based upon problems with patients' records.

Electronic Health Records are used in many aspects of patient care. These records include all findings reported during the health history and physical examination of a patient. They are also updated every time a patient is seen or requires further treatment. These electronic records are also utilized when physicians prescribe medications. However, there are drawbacks to using these systems, which can lead to a detrimental outcome for the patient adversely affected.

Some of the more prevalent issues that occur with this record-keeping system involves the habit of copying and pasting information back into a chart when the provider feels information is redundant and not in need of updating. However, this could cause new information getting lost in excessive verbiage. Likewise, errors are more likely to be overlooked if entries are not carefully reviewed.

One particular area where physicians must use due diligence is looking for warnings when entering prescriptions for patients into this system that indicate a possible interaction with other medications or a contradiction for a particular individual. This is one area where a provider could be held accountable if warnings were turned off or disregarded as apparently sometimes occurs. Electronic Health Records are an important tool when used in the manner intended. However, as in every other aspect of medical care, any tool can be used as a scapegoat when a patient experiences a less than optimal recovery or suffers unintended harm. A New York physician facing a malpractice claim is entitled to a thorough and comprehensive defense in order to protect one's professional reputation and the ability to continue to provide quality care in the future.

Source: thedoctors.com, "Electronic Health Record Malpractice Risks", Accessed on June 19, 2017

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