Insurance companies and medical practitioners tout e-records as being the
solution to medical mistakes. That’s not always the case.
Though e-records have the potential to increase the quality of care a patient
receives, there appear to be some serious issues involved in using them,
according to a study published by Health Leaders Media. For instance,
the software could misinterpret midnight as noon, which would result in
a baby being administered an antibiotic a day late. In another instance,
the computer truncated a dosage field. The patient was given too much
morphine, which resulted in respiratory arrest. During the course of that
study, 171 mistakes led to direct harm or death for patients at the 39
hospitals participating in the nine-week study.
Humans caused at least 46 percent of those mistakes. While it may be difficult
to differentiate between technical glitches and human fallibility since
people key the information into the system, it should be pointed out that
even if doctors or their staff rely on software to prescribe and track
patients, they should still double check that patient orders are being
followed to the letter.
As for computer error, there are always initial problems and a learning
curve for those using it. However, a hospital is not the place to experiment
with patients’ lives.
One important thing to note about this study is that researchers asked
for voluntary reporting of errors. Consider for a moment how many errors
If you have questions about e-record confidentiality, attorney
Chris Mellino welcomes you to
contact our Cleveland office for a free consultation. You may also download or
request Chris’ free, easy-to-read guide to filing a claim in Ohio.