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Are documentation errors potentially dangerous?

Your concerns about your medical treatment likely begin and end with your face-to-face interactions with your provider. He or she diagnoses you, treats you, gives you advice and then sends you on your way. Yet there is a whole other element to your medical care that you do not see yet is just as vital to your safety. As many in Providence County and throughout the rest of the U.S. are discovering, documentation errors are becoming a new problem facing both patients and providers today.

Before, in between and after consulting with you, doctors, nurses and other clinicians make notes in your medical record. Not only are those notes used to help determine your course of treatment during that single visit, but doctors will also rely on them in the future when administering care. Any errors could result in a vital aspect of your medical history being missed, any allergies you suffer from not being discovered, or you being given the wrong blood type.

Many point to the expanded use of electronic medical records as being behind the rise in the number of documentation errors in recent years. Study information shared by Politico.com shows the number of EMR-related malpractice claims to have doubled between 2013 and 2014. While designed to overcome the issue of doctors not being able to read each other’s handwritten records, EMRs have developed their own problems linked to their automated functions.

Some the problems associated with automated EMR technology include:

  •          Fields built to auto-populate based on templates inputting the wrong information
  •          Voice recognition software missing or misspelling words
  •          Providers misinterpreting options in drop-down menus

In a case involving an EMR error, you need to determine whether it was a system or user error. That determination will direct you regarding whom should be held liable

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Providence Personal Injury Office

199 North Main Street
Providence, RI 02903

Toll Free: 888-876-9415
Phone: 401-354-7233
Fax: 401-453-1501
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