Today’s digital resources allow for the seamless input, transfer, and retrieval of key medical information at clinics and hospitals. This facilitates more efficient and accurate care for patients.
Unfortunately, even the most advanced tools are far from perfect. The same is true of the employees who manage modern software and equipment. Even simple errors can place patients at grave risk, as we explain below:
While the potential for human error exists in all areas of the health care industry, medical records are uniquely prone to seemingly small mistakes with the potential for major damage. These issues often occur as data is entered or retrieved.
Typos, for example, may impact everything from diagnoses to prescriptions. Equally problematic: accidentally skipped entries, which may cause patients to miss much-needed tests or could otherwise prompt delays when urgent care is required. Delays also occur upon discovering errors, with health care organizations often forced to order and administer tests on multiple occasions.
Even if all data is entered flawlessly, the software used to manage such information can place patients at risk. Such was the case for Annette Monachelli, who died from a brain hemorrhage after initially being diagnosed with migraines. Her ensuing malpractice case alleged that a brain scan had been ordered but never completed as requested by Monachelli’s physician.
Over time, the case revealed huge problems within the electronic medical records industry. Shockingly, Practice Fusion — the EMR vendor deemed at least partially to blame for Monachelli’s death — has been accused of manipulating its software to influence prescriptions in exchange for opioid company kickbacks. This is just one example of many ways in which negligence or ill intent can make everyday medical records a major threat, even when human error is not to blame.Medical Errors, PatientSafety