When electronic health records (EHR) were first developed, they were seen as an advancement in healthcare. But today, many view them as more of a burden than an asset.
Rather than decreasing physician workload as originally intended, they have increased the demands placed on doctors – contributing to physician burnout – which can lead to a lower standard of patient care.
There are both advantages and disadvantages to the current state of EHRs.
Here are a few of the advantages:
- Prompts for preventative health screenings. Doctors can conveniently access preventive health records in one place to schedule needed appointments.
- Computerized physician order entry (CPOE). Doctors can place lab and imaging orders, prescriptions, and notices electronically. This reduces the likelihood of error in handwritten orders and provides access to a patient’s other physicians who in are the network.
- Providers can e-message, avoiding “telephone tag.” This is especially helpful for referrals.
Here are a few of the disadvantages that could potentially lead to medical errors:
- Documentation delays. This is where the extra work for physicians happens, and it can negatively impact the patient. Busy physicians often wait to close notes until the end of their day, which can lead to errors and a delay in conveying important information.
- Constant need for updates. Every wellness visit, diagnosis, treatment, procedure, prescription, and so on, must be entered in the system. And there is no accountability when important information is not entered.
- Communication between a patient’s providers. E-messaging between providers can be terse and lacking – just as any email conversation. Important facts can be left out or misinterpreted, which can result in a lower level of patient care.
How EHRs Could be Made Better
Although there are a few advantages to digital record-keeping, electronic health records are really only digital versions of paper charts. Some physicians believe that – with several improvements – EHRs can become much more efficient, to the benefit of both patients and their doctors.
For example, if EHRs were converted to platforms in which physicians could subscribe to their patients’ information, they could receive real-time updates and make more timely and accurate actions.
If you have been injured due to medical negligence that you believe was the result of an EHR error, please call the New Jersey medical malpractice lawyers at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP at 732-384-1331. You can also contact us online. We will provide the knowledgeable guidance you need to win the compensation you deserve. Our offices are conveniently located in Edison, Red Bank, and Toms River, and we represent clients throughout the state of New Jersey.