Study: Electronic medical records may lower malpractice claims

There's No Substitute for Experience

Medical errors can happen for a number of reasons. A prescription error could be made, or a medical risk could end up going unnoticed. However, a recent study found that when doctors used electronic medical records, the number of medical malpractice claims was lower. The claim is this research provides evidence that electronic medical records can help prevent medical errors while improving patient safety.

In this study researchers compared the number of malpractice claims for a pool of doctors before they started using electronic records to after they started using electronic records. From there it was estimated that claims were 84 percent less likely after the adoption of electronic records.

When looking at the use of electronic medical records, supporters claim this technology allows for doctors to talk with other doctors and patients more easily. Additionally, electronic records reportedly make it easier to spot any possible complications that could arise from a patient taking a combination of medications.

However, it is important to note that the adoption of electronic medical records does not guarantee that there will be no medical errors and subsequent medical malpractice claims. In fact, the study is quick to point out that there could be other factors involved in the difference of malpractice claims, like the doctor's style of medicine.

There are also those who are skeptical of electronic medical records and the possible “unintended consequences” of converting over to electronic records.

But what do you think? Should more doctors start to use electronic records, or are there hidden risks associated with relying on this technology?

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