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Medical malpractice lawsuits related to electronic health records (EHR) errors are on the rise, according to a recent data analysis of 216 closed malpractice claims from 2010-2018. The data analysis, which was conducted by the Doctors Company, revealed that EHRs contributed to nearly four times as many claims in 2018 than they did in 2010.

Doctors’ Company researchers found that the EHR-related claim rate is rising, with a low of seven cases reported in 2010 up to an annual average of 22.5 cases between 2017-2018. While EHR claims are still low compared to other forms of malpractice, accounting for 1.39% of malpractice claims in 2018, the rise is still concerning. EHR errors represented just 0.35% of claims in 2010, indicating that today’s nearly universal implementation of EHRs in medical facilities may mean they pose a greater malpractice risk than before.

EHR errors are typically secondary contributing factors of malpractice claims, but they can add serious health risks to already dangerous instances of malpractice. In fact, at least 7% of EHR-related malpractice claims result in an injury. The most common negative patient health outcomes resulting from EHR-related malpractice claims are:

  • Death
  • Adverse reactions to medication
  • Mobility dysfunction
  • Lasting emotional trauma
  • Infection
  • Need for surgery
  • Damage to organs
  • Ongoing pain
  • Undiagnosed malignancy
  • Dysfunction in mobility

The analysis also found that diagnostic errors account for nearly one-third of all EHR-related claims. Specialties accounting for the highest percentage of claims include family medicine, internal medicine, cardiology and radiology.

Electronic health records are just one of multiple types of patient records errors that leads to malpractice. In a separate study completed by the Pew Charitable Trusts and Massachusetts e-Health Collaborative, researchers found that matching patients to their healthcare records is an ongoing problem in medical facilities across the nation, with match rates being “far below the desired level for effective data exchange.” In some healthcare facilities, the current patient match rate could be as low as 50%. Mismatched patient records can result in delays in patient care, patients receiving the wrong surgery or medication, higher medical costs and an increase in recovery time.

If you or a loved one suffered due to medical malpractice, contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at Paulson & Nace, PLLC at (202) 930-0292 or through our online contact form today to discuss your legal options.

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