As people in Arizona may be aware, many medical facilities have changed from paper-based medical records to electronic ones. These electronic medical records have been touted within the healthcare industry as helping to prevent medical errors and resulting medical malpractice lawsuits. It has been demonstrated, however, that the use of the records can cause medical errors and the EMRs can actually support a finding of liability in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Every year, an average of 85,000 medical malpractice lawsuits are filed against doctors and hospitals across the country. More frequently, EMRs are playing a central role in these cases.
Problems may arise when the staff makes entries using the cut-and-paste feature. Other problems are note bloat, over-relying on autocomplete and scanning instead of reading. Hospitals sometimes fail to get electronic signatures for informed consent documents as well. When the documentation is not accurate, medical errors are more likely to occur. EMRs have the potential to help hospitals and doctors avoid making mistakes if they are used correctly. Hospitals should provide adequate training to all medical staff that will use the EMR system so it can be a help instead of a hindrance.
When a hospital fails to adequately train staff on the appropriate use of electronic medical records, the hospital may be held to be liable for its negligence if a patient is injured as a result. Injured people may want to meet with a medical malpractice attorney who can evaluate their case. They may do so by seeking all of the person's medical records then reviewing them to determine whether the injury resulted from medical negligence. If it did, the attorney might then help by identifying all defendants to name in the lawsuit and all legal grounds for claims. They may then file the lawsuit and litigate to seek the maximum recovery.