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Study: Electronic health records causing patient safety issues

Most medical facilities throughout Ohio and the rest of the country have either made their health records electronic or are in the process of doing so. The common belief is that electronic health records are not only more organized and complete, but that they also promote better patient care.

However, a new study recently revealed that hospitals are actually reporting more patient safety issues stemming from electronic health records (EHRs).

The study involved more than 3,000 incident reports that were collected and analyzed by the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority. The safety authority found that hospitals reported twice as many patient safety incidents involving EHRs in 2011 compared to the year before.

47 percent of the problems were a result of “wrong input” of information into the system by health professionals, the study concluded. Another 18 percent of the issues were tied to failure to update data in the EHR that was listed elsewhere in the file. Other, less-common issues involved device errors, wrong records being displayed, and lost or missing data.

Ultimately, the program director of the safety authority said many of the problems with the EHRs mirror problems that have occurred for years with paper records. He said EHRs make sense from a business perspective, “but only if you enter the right info in there.” He continued, “It’s a garbage in, garbage out problem.”

As you can see, no matter how advanced technology gets, medical errors will continue to occur because of human error. When this happens, patients must have a way to be compensated for their losses, and that’s where medical malpractice law comes in. To find out more about the services we provide, please visit our medical malpractice website.

Source:, “EHR-related errors soar but few harm patients,” Kevin B. O’Reilly, Jan. 14, 2013