Electronic health records: the future of standard of care?

AuthorVaughn, Doug
PositionConning the IADC Newsletters

International Association of Defense Counsel Committee members prepare newsletters on a monthly basis that contain a wide range of practical and helpful material. This section of the Defense Counsel Journal is dedicated to highlighting interesting topics covered in recent newsletters so that other readers can benefit from committee specific articles.

Doug Vaughn is a partner at Deutsch Kerrigan, LLP in Gulfport, Mississippi. His practice is focused on litigation and health law, including defense of medical malpractice claims and representation of physicians in matters concerning their medical licensure and hospital privileges. He represents businesses and individuals in matters of commercial litigation, products liability and catastrophic personal injury and transportation law. He chairs the IADC's Medical Defense and Health Law committee. Autumn Breeden is a rising third year law student at the University of Mississippi School of Law. Ms. Breeden is the Executive Notes and Comments Editor of the Mississippi Law Journal and is President of the Law Association for Women at the University of Mississippi School of Law. She is also the Magister of the law school's chapter of Phi Delta Phi Legal Honor Society.

This article originally appeared in the July 2016 Medical Defense and Health Law Committee newsletter.

ELECTRONIC Health Records ("EHRs") are a recent innovation in the medical world and are meant to simplify patient care, save medical practitioners time on charting, and make a patient's medical history more easily navigable. But no new technology is implemented without its own accompaniment of bugs, errors, and a learning curve. A sampling of lawsuits closed between 2007 and 2013 showed that EHRs were cited as a factor in only 1% of the cases. (1) The number of EHR related lawsuits doubled between 2013 and 2014, consistent with widespread adoption of the electronic technology. (2) potential reason this may have occurred is because EHRs hold more data than paper records. While increasing data in a patient's medical chart may sound entirely positive, doing so actually creates more complexity and may increase liabilities to health care providers because small details buried in mounds of data may more easily be missed. (3)

The most commonly cited errors in EHR-related malpractice claims are incorrect data input and other user errors. (4) These type of errors commonly include drop down menus that address the most common scenarios...

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