As provider adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) approaches near-universal levels, a study from The Doctors Company shows the frequency of claims in which EHRs contributed to injury continues to rise.
Analyzing EHR-related medical malpractice claims that closed between 2010 and 2018, The Doctors Company uncovered that the pace of these claims tripled, growing from a mere seven cases in 2010 to an average of 22.5 cases per year in 2017 and 2018.
While EHRs are not often the primary cause of claims, the study shines a light on potential risks they may pose in care delivery, as well as the top factors that contributed to the claims. The study showed that EHR-related claims were caused by either system technology and design issues or by user-related issues. Among the top findings:
- Top user-related issues stem from incorrect information, pre-populating or copying and pasting, and hybrid health records or EHR conversion.
- Top system technology and design issues were problems with electronic systems and technology failure.
- Of those injuries that occurred in 7 percent or more of claims, adverse reaction to a medication and death were by far the most prevalent.
- Diagnosis-related allegations represented nearly one-third of the total.
- Two specialties—family medicine and internal medicine—received the highest percentage of claims where EHRs are a factor, followed by cardiology and radiology.
Based on this data, study author Darrell Ranum, JD, CPHRM, vice president of patient safety and risk management at The Doctors Company, identified the following steps to prevent EHR-related risks that may ultimately contribute to an adverse event: