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Wrong electronic medical records may give way to adverse outcomes for patients

It’s commonplace for medical practices to use electronic health record (EHR) systems nowadays. They do this to ensure easy accessibility and safekeeping of records and as a way to share records with and communicate with patients in a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliant manner.

A 2020 Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) study revealed that patients often discover errors when accessing their EHR records, some of which may result in adverse outcomes for patients. 

How serious of a problem are EHR errors?

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School researchers teamed up to survey at least 23,000 patients about their experiences with EHRs from 2018 through 2020. An estimated 32.4% discovered what they classified as somewhat serious errors in their EHR notes. Another 42.3% referred to the ones that they labeled as serious ones. An additional 10% ranked the mistakes that they discovered as very serious ones. 

Which types of EHR errors did the patients identify?

An estimated 8.4% of respondents identified incorrect information about test results or procedures they’d undergone in their EHR notes. At least 14% of them found that their medical team had incorrectly documented their medications or allergies in the EHR. Another 23.9% of respondents reported identifying inaccurate information listed in their medical histories. An additional 27.5% of respondents reported finding either past or present diagnostic misinformation in their EHR notes. 

What other problem comes with incorrect EHRs?

Many providers provide their patients with open access to their records to enhance transparency, and so they can more easily get a second opinion if necessary. These inaccuracies often leave patients with unexpected health complications or outcomes.

The good news is that New Jersey law does allow individuals who experience health declines or die due to their health care provider’s negligence to recover compensation for their oversight. A medical malpractice attorney can help you understand your legal options.