EHRs may fail to warn about one third of medication errors

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EHRs may fail to warn about one third of medication errors

| Jun 30, 2020 | Medical Malpractice |

Many hospitals in Texas use electronic health records to keep track of patients, their medical history and other important data like their medications, their allergies and test results. Their main purpose is to reduce the chances of human error harming a patient. For instance, EHRs can warn about a potentially adverse event if doctors prescribe a certain drug or dosage.

However, researchers from the University of Utah Health, Harvard University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital have found out that EHRs are failing to detect a significant number of medication errors. They analyzed EHR performance in over 2,000 hospitals nationwide from 2009 and 2018 and calculated that, in 2009, EHRs only warned about 54% of potential medication issues.

There was a slight improvement over time with EHRs warning about 66% of issues in 2018, but this meant that one third of errors, and, therefore, one third of cases where patients might suffer injury or death were not being prevented. Though nine EHR vendors were included in the study, it turns out that the type of EHR used did not really alter the scores.

To test EHR performance, researchers made use of the CPOE Evaluation Tool and created some 8,600 simulated scenarios. They note that hospitals, in choosing what medication-related decision supports to turn on in an EHR, influence the rate of errors.

Those who are injured as a result of a medication error or another form of medical malpractice may want to speak with a lawyer about filing a claim. Proving negligence can be hard, but a lawyer may hire medical experts and other third parties to assist with this. The lawyer may hold the hospital liable according to the idea of vicarious liability and negotiate for a fair settlement covering medical bills, pain and suffering and more.