EMR Use and Malpractice Liability

Posted on June 30, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Someone sent me this article (you’ll have to subscribe to see the full article) on EMR use and the liability that comes with using an EMR. I must admit that having covered EMR for a number of years, I’m surprised that the malpractice side of an EMR hasn’t gotten more coverage. Certainly there are potential malpractice risks and benefits to using an EMR. This section of the article pretty well sums it all up:

An estimated 85,000 medical lawsuits are filed annually, which include those against hospitals and individual physicians. One of the highly-touted benefits of electronic medical records (EMRs) is the potential to help prevent malpractice incidents and medical errors. By providing better documentation, automatically checking for medication errors and drug interactions, providing failsafe systems to track test results and follow-up with patients, EMRs can dramatically reduce the risk of malpractice.

While the benefits of EMRs are far greater than the cons, no road is without stumbling blocks. A physician who is not careful when using the EMR could increase his malpractice liability.

The article goes on to list the following malpractice risks of using an EHR:

  • Too much information
  • Wrong Template can Bollix Up the Chart
  • Changing the Standard of Care
  • Attention to the Patient

Malpractice is definitely something to make sure you consider when implementing an EMR to avoid problems down the road.