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What causes errors in emergency room electronic health records?

| Oct 4, 2019 | Failure to Diagnose

When you visit a hospital emergency room in Queens, New York or anywhere in the greater metropolitan area, it is usually due to an acute medical condition that cannot wait until you are able to get an appointment to see your regular doctor. Therefore, it is imperative that everything is accurately documented so that you can get the right care and proper follow-up. Sometimes there are mistakes in ER electronic records that can lead to the wrong treatment or even death. What causes these errors to occur?

According to Forbes magazine, there has been a dramatic increase in hospitals switching over to an electronic health records (EHR) system, with 98 percent of hospitals using such technology in 2019 compared to just 9 percent in 2008. Unfortunately, this modification in notation systems has not been problem-free, with 21 percent of patients stating that they have found errors in their own records. 

Issues often occur with respect to prescription drugs. EHRs do not always provide the correct duration for a patient to take a medication. At times, they do not identify drugs which may be dangerous and should have been flagged, or interactions between multiple medications. Any of these issues has the potential for serious patient harm. 

Other errors occur when a doctor enters a note into an incorrect patient profile, which happens all too frequently. And depending upon which systems are being used, there can be incompatibility between different computer programs. This can have disastrous consequences when there is a software conflict between the EHRs and a laboratory. 

This information is intended solely for educational purposes and is not given as legal advice. 

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