March 06, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Pennsylvania report finds EHR-related errors are on the rise
Article provided by Law Offices of Edward P. Shaughnessy
Visit us at http://www.edshau.com
As technology has improved and people have become more reliant on electronic gadgets for tasks ranging from communicating with friends to managing their calendars, it should come as no surprise that the medical field is also finding ways to use technological developments to its advantage. In recent years, physicians and hospitals across the country have started using electronic health records -- or EHRs -- to maintain patient data. If you have seen a doctor recently, the chances are high that you have been a part of -- or at least observed -- this transition.
While EHRs are expected to be beneficial for doctors and patients alike, a recent report from the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority has found that there are also risks associated with the switch to electronic health records.
Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority EHR report
The researchers who compiled the report analyzed information from 3,099 patient safety incidents involving EHRs that occurred between 2004 and 2011 in Pennsylvania. During the first year of the research -- 2004 -- only 31 of the patient safety incidents were caused by EHRs.
Since then, the number of problems related to electronic health records has steadily risen. In 2010, a total of 555 incidents were reported that involved EHRs and in 2011 that number grew to 1,142. Some have suggested that the actual number of incidents is likely even higher than reported, as the information gathered by the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority comes from incidents that were voluntarily reported. In addition, doctors and nurses may not always be aware that certain incidents are the result of an EHR error.
It should come as no surprise that many of the EHR errors identified were caused by human error - often a data entry error. According to the report, 47 percent of the errors were caused by inaccurate data entry. In addition, 18 percent of the errors were caused by a failure to input the data altogether. In these situations, while the information may have been present in an old paper file, if the data was never inputted into the new electronic system, a patient safety incident could result.
The report found that of the over 3,000 patient safety incidents, 320 led to "unsafe conditions" for the patient. In addition, 15 of the errors led to temporary harm caused to the patient and one led to a serious personal injury. In that instance, the patient was allergic to penicillin, but the allergy was not properly recorded in the EHR. Consequently, the patient was given the medication, which led to an allergic reaction and anaphylactic shock.
Hold healthcare professionals responsible for medical errors caused by EHRs
When someone sustains an injury due to a medical error, it is critical to determine why the error occurred. If you have been injured due to an EHR-related medical error, consulting with a skilled Pennsylvania personal injury attorney will ensure your rights are protected.---
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