Is Technology Increasing the Risk of Medical Malpractice?

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If you have been to the hospital in recent years, you may have noticed that doctors and nurses spend more time staring at the computer than they do actually talking to you. Electronic health records (also known as EHRs) are now a mainstay in the healthcare world.

Technology has yielded so many medical advances, thereby saving millions of lives, but as we have found throughout history, the greater the technology, the greater the potential problems. Electronic health records have streamlined healthcare across the country, but are they more trouble than they’re worth?

Five ways technology, and the use of electronic medical records, may be increasing the risk of medical malpractice:

1. Design Flaws. Software programs are designed to be user-friendly. However, design and/or functional flaws are especially common with new software programs. At home, if your software gets a bug or has a design flaw, it can be quite burdensome, but design flaws in electronic health records software can mean life or death for a patient.

2. Input Issues/Copy and Paste.  Despite its overall efficiency, electronic technology can actually slow down record-keeping. To overcome this, health care professionals will use shortcuts when they enter information, including the ever so popular, copy and paste. Using these shortcuts without thoroughly going through the patient’s file could lead to incomplete and incorrect patient information, potentially causing misdiagnosis, medication errors, and irreparable medical mistakes.

3. Not Using the Product Correctly.  Even after adequate software training, over a period of time doctors, nurses, and aides will try to customize the software, inadvertently changing it from how it was intended to work. This can cause a number of problems. For example, if some healthcare professionals use the software to do things one way, and other healthcare professionals use it another way, the system will be unpredictable and mistakes will be made.

4. Security Issues. Electronic health records can lead to confidentiality breaches, disclosing the personal and medical history of patients. Hackers are capable of getting into patient information. Using it in a number of ways, including using the patient data to obtain free medical care, prescriptions, identity theft, and false insurance claims.

6. Lack of Focus on the Patient. Because of the time it takes to enter information into the computer system, healthcare professionals usually begin entering information as soon as they walk into a patient’s room. Often, patients wait hours and hours to see a doctor, and when the doctor finally arrives, he or she focuses more on the computer than the patient. It can be very frustrating for the patient. More importantly, by not focusing on the patient, a doctor could miss signs of physical problems and behavioral cues necessary for a diagnosis.

With electronic health records making the healthcare process even faster and less personalized, you need to be your own advocate now more than ever. Make your doctors and nurses be accountable for your care, ask a lot of questions, and pay attention to what’s going on around you.

If you or a loved one was a victim of medical malpractice, you have to call me right away at 1 (877) 944-4373. I can help you get the answers and compensation you deserve. As your Ohio Medical Malpractice Lawyer, I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®

Author: Tim Misny | For more than 33 years, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in birth injurymedical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving “Cleveland, Akron/Canton, Columbus & Cincinnati, Ohio.” You can reach Tim by email at tmisny@misnylaw.com or call at 1 (877) 944-4373.