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Safety errors linked to electronic health records

Pennsylvania residents who are concerned about medical malpractice should be aware of the role electronic health records have to play in safety errors. A recent study that was published in Health Affairs investigated electronic health records to determine how they contribute to pediatric safety errors. It showed that more than half of the mistakes that were recorded were related to these records.

The study's lead author and director of the National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare stated that the usability of electronic health records can lead to medication errors. He went on to explain that electronic health records do not always provide the right feedback and that the visual display itself can be an issue as well. For example, electronic health records may not alert correctly when a medication is prescribed to a patient with an allergy. When the display is confusing or cluttered, the chances are even greater that an error will be made.

The study found that approximately 84 percent of medication errors were due to improper dosing, and roughly 3 percent were related to missed doses and other cases of improper timing. One example occurred when a physician accidentally ordered five times the recommended dose of a medication without the electronic health record signaling something was wrong. Therefore, to prevent medical negligence, the research team believes that clinicians should not put too much faith in an electronic health record's ability to alert them to a potential problem.

People who have been injured as a result of medical malpractice should consider working with an attorney with experience in medical negligence. A lawyer may be able to help an injured patient seek compensation for his or her injury. Compensation may include pain and suffering, lost wages and other damages. In the event of an injury requiring physical therapy, compensation may also include transportation to and from appointments.

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