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Report: Digital medical records are posing problems

Report: Digital medical records policies need revision

It has been asserted that using digital medical records will largely help patients in Kentucky and across the country. Providers are able to easily share information and get someone’s full medical history in the interest of preventing medical errors. However, due to complaints from some health care professionals about the system, the Department of Health and Human Services has proposed changes to federal requirements.

Under Obamacare, medical facilities need to use electronic health records. In 2011, hospitals and doctors received stimulus money to the tune of $28 billion to install systems to digitize records. However, as one physician pointed out, the software is flawed and the process of switching over from paper has been time-consuming. The DHHS has decided to give facilities more time to get online with electronic records.

Perhaps even more problematic is that used incorrectly, electronic health records could pose a risk to patient safety. For example, physicians need to enter information regarding prescribed medications in certain places in the record. Failing to do so could mean missing a warning regarding an allergy that a patient might have. In one frightening case, an issue with an electronic record led to a teenager receiving 39 times the amount of antibiotic necessary. The teen suffered a grand mal seizure and nearly died.

Many industry experts agree that an electronic records system is good in theory, but it needs to be finely tuned in order to work well. No matter what kind of record a facility uses, doctors must remain diligent in reviewing a patient’s medical history, allergy to medications and any other situation that may compromise care. Anyone who has been harmed as a result of medical negligence should consult with an attorney. 

Source: USA Today, “Government backs down on some requirements for digital medical records,” Jaynoe O’Donnell and Laura Ungar, May 27, 2015