In the acrimonious health care reform debate a common denominator for all participants has been the need to digitize medical records. The perceived advantages include greater access to records and the ability of physicians in different locations to communicate about patients while swiftly assaying the patients' medical chart.

These same advantages have also been enthusiastically embraced as a mechanism for reducing medical malpractice and enhancing patient outcomes. Additionally, it has been thought that electronic record-keeping will reduce medical costs overall.

Unfortunately, the reality is that errors in software, data input and a siginificant incidence of computer malfuction may have created a very expensive monster. Reports of computer glitches which resulted in children systematically being given adult doses of medicines and other problems have been reported.

After a century of paper record-keeping the transition to digital records is both time-consuming and expensive. The Washington Post explores this topic in detail and focuses on the difference between the practical reality of transitioning to electronic records and the hoped for benefits. See http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/24/AR2009102400967.html?hpid=topnews

This tranistion has also created a whole new species of medical malpractice claims that we, at Clark and Steinhorn are seeing. These are medical negligence cases in the District of Columbia and Maryland with both written and digital records.

Needless to say this complicates matters considerably. I suspect that it also complicates matters for health care providers and hospitals. As an avid supporter of reduced health care costs and reduced incidence of medical malpractice, I hope that this inevitable transition goes more smoothly.
1 Comments
Thanks for the info article ans post.
by EMR implementation November 2, 2009 at 07:53 AM
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