EHR-related lawsuits doubled from 2013 to 2014

Confusing, inaccurate or misinterpreted EHRs account for a small, but growing portion of medical malpractice lawsuits, according to Politico.

EHR safety was an issue in about 1 percent of lawsuits concluded from 2007 to 2013, according to data in the report from The Doctor's Company. However, the pace doubled from 2013 to early 2014 as EHR adoption increased.

Some of the issues are due to poor implementation or lack of understanding among nurses and physicians of the system and the options available within the charts. For example, a woman who was wounded by a garden fork died of tetanus when a nurse checked "unknown/last five years" in the EHR for the patient's tetanus immunization. The physician assumed the patient had been immunized when she had not, according to the report.

To help reduce these incidents, the ONC has proposed creating a center to analyze EHR-related safety issues and develop solutions. Funding has not yet been approved by Congress, because the FDA and patient safety organizations collect EHR incident reports.


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