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By: Scott Rees
A recent Harvard study found medical malpractice claims dropped in Massachusetts after doctors began using electronic records. The study tracked 275 doctors, and of those, 33 were targeted by malpractice claims. Only two of the malpractice claims occurred after those physicians had switched to electronic medical records. This is not a surprising result given the fact that positive patient outcomes, and the corresponding reduction of malpractice claims, demand medical providers to be accurate, efficient, and consistent in their treatment and care.
Electronic medical records facilitate this by allowing physicians to use computers to track patients instead of relying on paper files, which cuts down on errors by making it easier to spot problems such as medication conflicts and allergies, and reconcile the patient’s history.
The question is, why don’t all medical providers switch to electronic medical record keeping?
The answers to date have been costs, resistance to change, fear that plaintiffs could find mistakes easier, and fear of electronic glitches. However, if additional studies return similar results, it is undeniable that the trend will be to move toward electronic records. Patients, medical providers, insurers, and the trees, will demand it.
If you would like to read more about the study, please click on the following link: http://health.usnews.com/health-news/news/articles/2012/06/25/e-records-linked-to-fewer-malpractice-claims
Thoughts and questions are always welcome.