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Errors in electronic health records from hospital negligence

Electronic health records are becoming more common in Illinois and across the country as many hospitals have begun using technology instead of traditional paper for patient information. However, health systems in another state have actually attributed some hospital errors to the new technology. While no deaths were recorded, hospital negligence was reported as the cause of several missed dosages or incorrect administration of medication.

An independent patient safety agency has recently looked for opportunities to decrease errors in electronic records. Experts contend that patients are as safe as when paper records were used. Nevertheless, they acknowledge the existence of problems unique to technology, such as operator errors or system problems.

The issue of accurate electronic records is widespread, with agencies such as the American Medical Association and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services involved in discussions to improve the processes. Physicians state that the systems are too complex, and completing them detracts from actual patient care. Many believe that simplifying the amount of information required would reduce the opportunities for mistakes, thus decreasing potential patient harm.

An advocate for change in the process recalled a family member's death after an error in an electronic health record concerning heart medication. His recommendation was to use a combination of paper, imaging records and electronic systems. Yet, other experts argue that electronic health systems can work well with good design and thorough user understanding.

If an individual has been harmed as a result of hospital negligence, it would be beneficial to contact an Illinois personal injury lawyer. An experienced attorney can assist families in pursuing a claim against a physician or health system. A successful lawsuit could provide compensation that would help defray further medical expenses caused by the negligence. An award may also include damages for pain and suffering, loss of future earnings and/or other documented financial losses.

Source: post-gazette.com, "Medication errors in hospitals don't disappear with new technology", Steve Twedt, April 10, 2017

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