BY: Robert B. Sickels | IN: Medical Malpractice
Think about how much easier it is for you to store, access, and share information and documents today compared to 20 years ago. Instead of digging through thousands of pieces of paper in hundreds of files kept in a bunch of cabinets, everything is right on your laptop or thumb drive, ready to view or send to others in seconds. It’s quicker, more collaborative, and much easier.
Now imagine the same transition with the billions of pages of medical records that contain the critical health and treatment information of hundreds of millions of Americans. While no doubt an enormous undertaking, the switch to electronic health records (EHR) was supposed to improve care and give health care providers instant access to patient information kept by other providers. EHR was going to increase efficiency and lower health care costs and, most importantly, reduce the likelihood of mistakes that lead to patient harm and medical malpractice claims.
Unfortunately, that’s not how it worked out. Instead of improving the process for doctors, hospitals, and patients, the government-sponsored transition – which has so far cost $36 billion – has created a whole new list of problems for doctors and hospitals and risks for patients. It has caused frustration and confusion, and software failures. Most likely, the inability of different systems to share information has led to serious injuries and deaths.
A recent in-depth and explosive investigation by Kaiser Health Network and Fortune magazine revealed the scope of the problems with electronic health records and how they put the health and lives of patients at risk. Published in March, “Death By 1,000 Clicks: Where Electronic Health Records Went Wrong” explores how things went wrong and how EHR has impacted the health care industry and the quality of patient care.
Here are some key findings, conclusions, and issues identified in the article:
This isn’t the first study to reveal the link between EHR problems and patient harm. A 2017 study by The Doctors Company, a medical malpractice insurer, found a continuous and significant increase in EHR-related medical malpractice claims over the ten years it analyzed.
Compounding the problems for patients is the fact that a veil of secrecy surrounds EHR-related medical errors, with non-disclosure agreements and efforts to limit liability making it difficult for injured patients or families to learn what happened. This is where experienced medical malpractice lawyers can help. If you believe you were the victim of a medical mistake connected to electronic health records, the medical malpractice lawyers of Sommers Schwartz can thoroughly investigate the situation, uncover the truth, and pursue compensation for your losses.
Please contact the attorneys in Sommers Schwartz’s Medical Malpractice Litigation Group for a free consultation to review your case.
View all posts byRobert B. Sickels
For more than 30 years, Robert Sickels has successfully represented plaintiffs involved in complex personal injury, medical negligence, and products liability matters.