EHR Medical Malpractice Risk

Posted on September 14, 2017 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.

In an article by Gabriel Perna, he highlighted 5 ways the EHR has become a medical malpractice risk:

You should read the whole article to see more details on each of the 5 risks, but here’s the summary list:

  1. Copy and Paste
  2. Use of Templates
  3. Alert Fatigue
  4. Clinical Decision Support Alerts
  5. Missing Information

As the article notes, EHRs aren’t currently involved in most medical malpractice cases today, but there’s a huge potential for that to change. Gabriel hightlights some ones that are worth considering, but I thought it was interesting that his list includes using the EHR incorrectly or the EHR failing you in some way. His list doesn’t include people who choose not to use one.

Certainly, it’s not the case today that using an EHR is considered medical malpractice, but will it get there?

I believe that it will. I think that the EHR and the associated smart systems that will be bolted onto the EHR will become the standard of care that’s required of doctors that are seeing patients. I see this as similar to a doctor negligently failing to order the appropriate tests for a patient and therefore delaying diagnosis. I think we could see the same thing happen with a doctor who doesn’t use the EHR and related tools and therefore doesn’t identify the correct diagnosis when they could have if they’d used the technology.

No doubt malpractice related to the use or non-use of technology like EHR software is just getting started. That’s why there aren’t many EHR related malpractice cases yet, but I have little doubt they’re coming.

What are you doing in your practice to minimize your EHR medical malpractice risk?