Healthcare Risk Insights: Electronic Health Records & Medical Malpractice

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Often attributed as a partial cause of the ever-increasing cost of healthcare, medical malpractice claims are a common, and costly, risk faced by healthcare providers. However, according to recent research, technological developments in the healthcare industry may be able to lower some of the risk of medical malpractice claims.

Studies have begun to track the effect that the use of electronic health record (EHR) systems have on preventing medical malpractice claims. EHRs allow doctors to quickly scan patients’ medical histories, giving them more background information, which leads to a more accurate diagnosis. It also means avoiding duplication of tests and negative reactions between medications. When all of this is information readily available, doctors and nurses can make better decisions about patient health. Better care means fewer mistakes, which in turn means fewer malpractice claims. The clear record they provide of the patient’s treatment history also makes EHRs useful in defending against a medical malpractice claim if one is filed.

Additional Benefits

EHRs may be able to do more than just help prevent claims, they may also get you a lower rate from your insurer. If study results continue to confirm the connection between EHRs and lowered occurances of medical malpractice claims, insurers may start offering discounts to facilities that implement such systems.

Going beyond the realm of malpractice claims, EHRs also offer a number of other benefits to both your staff and patients. Once implemented, EHRs can streamline many of your existing processes. Charts no longer need to be physically moved from one location to another. With a few clicks, patient information means information stays up-to-date and is always on hand. This not only makes like easier on staff members, it also means that patients receive high-quality, efficient care.

Implementation

Even though EHRs can simplify operations and save money in the long run, the investment of time and money is required to switch to a new system deters some healthcare providers. However, the switch to EHRs may soon be unavoidable. Recently there has been an increased focus on EHR implementation by federal regulators. Fortunately, with the push for a more broad adoption of technology comes a potential increase in available government funding to help healthcare providers make the switch.

When you make the decision to transition from paper records to an electronic system, there will be a learning period that goes along with the implementation process. The full benefit of EHRs cannot be realized unless employees are properly training in how to use them. If systems are poorly implemented, they will not generate the positive returns they are capable of.

Adopting EHRs takes an initial commitment from you and your staff, but in the long run, they can simplify operations and save money all while helping your provide the best possible care to your patients.

HealthcareAmanda S