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Electronic systems can cause medical errors

Using electronic health records could play a role in causing medical errors to occur in Pennsylvania. One of the problems that these systems have is that they don't make a distinction between adult and pediatric patients. This can be problematic when it comes to ensuring that a patient receives the proper dose of medication. According to a study published in Health Affairs, 84.5 percent of medication errors were related to improper dosing.

A further 3.5 percent of errors were related to doses not being taken at the proper time. Overall, these systems are seen as an improvement in how care is delivered to patients. However, issues with usability could ultimately put patients at risk of harm. Implementing safety alerts and other tools could make it easier for medical professionals to use a system safely and accurately.

Errors made using EHR systems can be significant. For example, one doctor ordered a dose five times higher than what the patient should have received, but the EHR system in use didn't create an alert. To prevent such problems from occurring, hospital leadership should be aware of any errors or potential safety risks posed by an EHR. Those who use these systems should take time to confirm that information entered into an EHR is correct.

In some cases, medical errors could rise to the level of malpractice. Statements from a doctor, a list of patient symptoms and other evidence could be used to show that a medical professional should have avoided a mistake. If a malpractice claim is successful, the patient may be entitled to receive compensation for medical bills and other damages incurred. An attorney could review a case and work to resolve it either through a settlement or a jury trial.

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