EHR Malpractice: When Health Record Errors Lead to Medical Malpractice (Pt. 1)

March 13, 2015

The modern digital age has made the collection, transmission, retention and dissemination of information easier in many ways.

EHR malpractice is a type of medical malpractice that occurs when patients’ medical data is lost or altered, impacting their care. Here’s what you should know about EHR malpractice.

EHR malpractice is a type of medical malpractice that occurs when patients’ medical data is lost or altered, impacting their care. Here’s what you should know about EHR malpractice.

While hospitals and medical facilities have been modernizing their computer systems and switching to electronic health records (EHRs), these facilities and the professionals who run them have been incentivized by the government to adopt more modern computing and data maintenance systems through legislation like the Affordable Care Act (which provides some incentives while also penalizing them if they don’t comply by reducing their Medicaid reimbursements).

All of this has meant that far more hospitals and other medical facilities are updating their technology and that, along the way, there has been computer glitches or system failures that have impacted EHRs and, in doing so, have affected patient’s care and health.

What is EHR Malpractice?

In particular, the electronic problems that may have been caused by anything from user error to flawed system designs have led to the deletion (or alteration) of important patient health information; in turn, this has led to patients not getting the appropriate treatments, sometimes being exposed to unsafe medications (based on their medical histories) and, in the worst cases, suffering serious – if not life-threatening – complications.

This has generated a new special type of medical malpractice that some have deemed electronic health record malpractice – or EHR malpractice, and it’s expected to increase substantially in the coming years as more hospitals and health care facilities in the U.S. attempt to modernize their computing and record keeping systems.

Taking a closer look at this type of medical malpractice, in this blog series, we’ll point out some of the causes of EHR malpractice, as well as who may be liable for it. If you or someone you love has been hurt by any type of medical negligence or malpractice, don’t hesitate to contact the experienced Portland malpractice attorneys at the Savage Law Firm. We can help you with your financial recovery.

EHR Malpractice: When Technical Design Flaws Lead to Data Errors

In some cases, EHR malpractice can arise when technical flaws in the design of hardware and/or software lead to data deletions or errors that can compromise patient care and safety. In particular, some of the specific types of design flaws that can contribute to EHR malpractice include (but are not necessarily exclusive to):

  • Autofill or autocorrect features, which can alter the entries being typed in, potentially changing numbers, medication names, etc. These features can lead from anything like dosage problems to missing information about patients’ allergies.
  • Software compatibility problems, which arise when doctors’ offices and hospitals attempt to share records via different and potentially incompatible systems. When there are compatibility issues between medical facilities’ software programs, important details about patients’ medical histories can get lost and/or mistranslated.
  • System upgrade losses, which can happen when regular system updates and upgrades are made. Again, this type of technical issue can lead to lost or altered patient data.
  • Crashes, which can also occur for various reasons – and when they do, they can lead to patients’ medical information being unavailable and/or lost.

For some more important info regarding EHR malpractice, check out the additional parts of this blog series that will be published soon.

Portland Medical Malpractice Lawyers at the Savage Law Firm

Have you been hurt as a result of EHR malpractice or any type of medical negligence? If so, you can rely on the Portland medical malpractice attorneys at the Savage Law Firm for experienced help and aggressive legal advocacy.

To learn more about our legal services and what we can do for you, call us at 503-222-0200 (in Portland) or at 206-957-7272 (in Seattle). You can also email us using the form on this page. We represent clients in communities in both Oregon and Washington from our offices in Portland and Seattle.

Categories: Blog, EHR Malpractice, Malpractice