Rush Toward Electronic Health Records Raising Risks for Patients

An in-depth article in the Boston Sunday Globe on July 20, 2014, describes how financial incentives to hospitals and doctors offices to implement electronic health records (EHR) as part of the Affordable Care Act is creating an environment prone to medical errors resulting in serious risks to patients.

The article cites a study by CRICO which analyzed "a year’s worth of medical malpractice claims in its comparative database and found 147 cases in which EHRs were a contributing factor."

According to CRICO, common problems with faulty EHR systems include:
  • Systems that don't "talk" to each other 
  • Improper routing of test results 
  • Data entry errors 
  • Copy-and-paste errors 
The case highlighted in the Globe article involves a woman who died of an overdose at South Shore Hospital in Weymouth, Massachusetts. Attorney Nicholas Cappiello of Lubin & Meyer is representing the family of the woman in a medical malpractice lawsuit. Cappiello contends that the nurses were "acting in response to multiple orders for insulin that had been entered into two separate prescribing systems used by the hospital — one digital, one involving paper and a fax — and were listed under the names of different doctors."

Said Cappiello, “The root cause is having two different systems that weren’t interacting with each other. It creates human error. Essentially, the right hand didn’t know what the left hand was doing.”

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Lubin & Meyer PC - New England's Leader in Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury Law. Attorneys practicing in MA, NH and RI.

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