Ohio residents may be aware that legislators have taken a great deal of interest in electronic health records, and much of this attention has been centered around privacy concerns and fears that EHRs could impact patient safety. However, these digital records are now being scrutinized more closely by medical malpractice attorneys because they provide a more complete picture of the treatment a patient received than traditional paper records. However, the move toward digital records in the health care industry raises a number of questions.
Doctors and hospitals like electronic records because they are portable and easy to access, but problems with EHRs have been uncovered in medical malpractice lawsuits. The individuals filling out these records often have a technical rather than a medical background, and some EHR systems include a feature that fills in data automatically. Electronic data is also far easier to manipulate and alter, which could lead to errors being concealed due to liability concerns.
However, EHRs are more detailed than paper records, and studying them could yield evidence that shortcuts were taken or mistakes made. Technology also provides easier access to clinical data from health information exchanges, which could lead to questions being asked of physicians who failed to take advantage of the information that these tools can provide.
Doctors and hospitals are rarely eager to face up to their mistakes, and technology that could make it easier for them to conceal errors will likely be a concern for medical malpractice attorneys. An attorney representing a client who has suffered a life-altering injury due to a physician or hospital error may call upon experts in the field of medical technology to scrutinize EHRs. This scrutiny could yield evidence that records have been tampered with, and it may also highlight treatment options missed by doctors that could have led to a successful outcome.