Electronic Health Records: Could Your Practice Be at Risk?

Laura Gerdes Long

By Laura Gerdes Long

The federal government’s efforts at incentivizing medical providers to use electronic health records (EHRs) may be putting some practices at risk.

In Electronic Records May Increase Malpractice Lawsuit Risk,” Neil Versel with Information Week refers to a white paper published by the AC Group, a Montgomery, Texas, health IT research and consulting firm. The white paper describes the kinds of risks that medical practices may face if they try to implement EHRs too quickly without the appropriate vendors.

Even vendors who have been certified by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) have been found lacking in the area of “medico-legal training.” For example, according to Versel, it has been discovered that ONC certification may not require providers “to check drug orders against laboratory results or take into account social and family medical history in creating alerts,” such as the need for more frequent mammograms for a female patient with a mother who has had breast cancer.

Here are just a few other issues that have arisen :

  • Critical safety alerts are being missed due to incomplete medication lists;
  • Problems with time synchronization of records between electronic charting systems; and
  • A high percentage of EHRs do not run drug interaction checks when filling prescriptions.

So to the medical practice community: buyer beware.

Posted by Attorney Laura Gerdes Long. Long practices in tort, insurance defense, legal malpractice, health care, and employment law. Well-versed in employment law policies and processes related to HIPAA, she serves as a trainer and advisor to health care providers, insurers, self-insured employers, and municipalities.


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