Published on:

Design Problems in Electronic Medical Records Can Harm Patients in Maryland

patient formA patient’s medical file contains vital information regarding a person’s history of illness, his or her family medical history, information about any allergies, and any medications the patient may be using. When these records are not kept up to date, patients can be at risk of serious harm. If you have suffered medical malpractice resulting from errors in electronic records, you may be able to recover compensation for your harm. At Arfaa Law Group, our skilled Baltimore medical malpractice attorneys are committed to protecting your rights at every step of the way.

A team of researchers at MedStar, a not-for-profit health care organization headquartered in Maryland, examined almost two million reports of safety hazards from clinics in Pennsylvania and the mid-Atlantic region. Of the total, 557 explicitly stated that there was an issue with electronic health records (EHRs) that put a patient in danger.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, noted that while EHRs have reduced certain kinds of medication mistakes compared to paper charts, the software can be challenging to use. In fact, “usability issues” ranging from data entry and display to defaults and drug orders contributed to patient harm. Consider the following example. In the United States, the medical community tends to weigh in pounds, so most scales are in pounds. However, in one case examined by the study, the EHR allowed a clinician to record a child’s weight in kilograms as opposed to pounds, which could have led to a serious overdose in medications that are based on their weight.

A possible solution to these issues would be to have well-trained professionals who would be able to spot errors in the EHRs. Heightened vigilance and potentially new protocols may be needed to reduce the risk of injuries to patients.

Medical errors can occur in a variety of ways throughout the diagnostic and treatment process. Many times, a human error that leads to preventable complications in patients could be the basis of a malpractice claim. In Maryland, medical malpractice occurs when a patient’s injury is a result of a medical professional’s failure to use the expected standard of care. The ‘standard of care’ is the legal term used to refer to the threshold for what constitutes negligence in medical malpractice claims. The standard of care varies depending on a number of factors, including but not limited to the patient’s medical condition, the patient’s age, the patient’s overall health history, and the medical professional’s specialty.

In the digital age, it seems like a natural progression that health records would be electronic. However, the process is not always problem-free. If you or someone close to you has been injured due to a physician communication error, you may be able to file a medical malpractice claim. At Arfaa Law Group, a Baltimore attorney can guide you through the legal process. We are here to answer your questions and address your concerns. For more information, you can contact our office at 410-889-1850 or reach us online.

More Blog Posts:

Deadly Bacteria in Hospitals Could Give Rise to Malpractice Claims

How Effective is the 20 Percent Rule in Maryland Malpractice Cases?