A New Medical Danger — Electronic Medical Records
United States President Obama has announced a plan to convert all medical facilities to electronic record-keeping systems within the next five years. The president, along with the rapidly growing software companies developing and selling their products to doctors, clinics and hospitals around the country, believe that the conversion to paperless filing provides more protection for patients and simplified processing for healthcare providers.
Benefits of paperless record keeping
People in favor of going paperless have sound reasons for supporting the change, including the elimination of the need to read a doctor’s handwriting, time-saving measures for processing of test results and prescriptions and the ease and accessibility of patient information, diagnostic and treatment recommendations.
The down side of electronic records
Electronic medical records have their detractors, and some are adamantly opposed to the new systems. Some glitches are evident and have resulted in serious injury and death. Physicians slow to adopt the practice of electronic records complain about:
- Cost: A system requires the physician to invest at least $25,000.
- Learning curves for physicians: Software requires time to learn how the system works, how to enter data and how to interpret and share results.
- Lack of confidentiality: Patient records can be accessed by others using the same system.
- Flawed default settings: These can result in incorrect medication dosage or protocols.
- Inappropriate procedures: These encourage cut and paste medicine rather than deductive reasoning.
Ultimately, the widespread or universal use of electronic medical records seems inevitable in the computer age. The transition for many healthcare professionals is not going to be without risk, and patient care may suffer in the interim.
If you or a loved one has received harmful or inappropriate medical care resulting in illness, injury or death, speak to a Tulsa medical malpractice attorney today. The lawyers at The Barkett Law Firm are eager to help you collect compensation for medical bills, lost wages and other costs incurred as a result of your doctor’s error.