The Benefits and Drawbacks of Electronic Medical Records (EMRs)

shutterstock_129797939-xsHouston Electronic Medical Records (EMRs)On January 1, 2014, an important provision of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 went into effect. Healthcare providers and other eligible professionals are required to have adopted electronic medical records (EMRs).

It should be noted that nursing homes do not generally fall under the “eligible professionals” umbrella; however, physicians, dentists, certified nurse mid-wives, and physician assistants do. Marian Rosen and Angela Spears, attorneys located in Houston, TX, with extensive experience in handling nursing home abuse cases, can help you understand the impact of EMRs on your elderly loved one and how you can make sure that these records are accurate and up-to-date. During consultations with prospective clients, electronic medical records can be explained in comprehensible detail.

What Is the Purpose of EMRs?

The federal government is pushing for universal adoption of EMRs because they permit healthcare providers to efficiently and effectively:

Track patient data and transfer it from department to department

Monitor when screenings and other important appointments are due

Manage patient care with minimal errors

Reduce practice overhead

Save space

Diagnose and plan treatment

Mistakes Are Still Possible with EMRs

Although “error reduction” is one of the most publicized advantages of the EMR system, errors are still extremely possible. As physician Kenny Lin wrote in a U.S. News & World Report article entitled “Electronic Medical Records: No Cure-All for Medical Errors,” EMRs do not eliminate medical errors, but they “only change the nature of the medical errors that are made.”

EMR errors can result from:

Under-training of physicians and staff

Sloppy cutting and pasting of notes from previous visits into current notes

The entry of data into the wrong charts

The incorrect entry of medication dosages and prescriptions

The disappearance of important data (whether due to human or computer error)

If your doctor’s office allows you to access your EMRs or the EMRs of your elderly loved one as his or her attorney-in-fact, you will want to check them often. If you note mistakes, it is important that you bring them to the attention of your healthcare provider immediately and make sure that they are corrected. The failure to do so can result in the passing on of erroneous information to other providers and serious jeopardy to your health and the health of your loved one.

As attorneys who have represented so many heartbroken families in wrongful death actions after serious medical errors have claimed their loved ones,  Marian Rosen and Angela Spears strive to remind people that vigilance is more important than ever in the digital age. While EMRs can be wonderful, efficient tools, they are not immune to potentially dangerous human errors.

For further information about EMRs, please contact the law firm of Rosen & Spears today.

Tagged with: Nursing Home Abuse Personal Injury Wrongful Death

Spread the word. Share this post!

About the Author: Marian Rosen