Errors occur in the electronic health record systems used by hospitals and doctors offices throughout Pennsylvania and the rest of the country. While many errors are trivial and harmless, others can cause serious harm to patients when not fixed. A study from John Hopkins found that more than 250,000 people die per year in the United States due to medical errors. A compounding problem in this issue stems from a distrust of patients by doctors and nurses and an unwillingness to admit mistakes.

One of the more common problems for providers is mistaken identity. Because there is no centralized system for medical record keeping in the United States, patients records often get mixed up with each other. In order to remedy this situation, experts believe that doctors should take measures to ensure the identity of their patients, including attaching photos to folders. On a broader level, adapting record keeping that’s used in countries like the U.K. and France would also help.

The emergency room is a source for many errors in medical record keeping. One reason for this is a policy that requires turning a patient’s current medication list into secondary diagnostic codes. This can result in providing an inappropriate treatment. Even when errors are clear in these cases, getting changes made can be a very difficult challenge.

Medical malpractice is a very serious issue that can cause serious harm and death even if it’s a result of erroneous record keeping. Victims have the right to seek compensation from the responsible parties in many cases, and they should seek legal counsel to find out what the best course of action may be. Compensation may be available for medical costs, lost wages, rehabilitation and other damages.