Patients often assume that, if their doctor has access to electronic medical records, he or she has additional information from which to draw medical conclusions and diagnoses. But it is important to remember that electronic medical records – like all data and information – is only as reliable as it is complete, accurate, and understood. If electronic medical information is not accurate or complete – whether due to misinformation provided by the patient or inaccurate documentation by doctors, nurses, or medical staff – the information can lead to medical errors such as misdiagnosis or mistreatment. Similarly, if a doctor does not adequately review the electronic medical information, or discuss the information with the patient, medical errors can also occur. An article in the New York Times cuts the heart of the problem with respect to electronic medical records – lack of dialogue:
“We are in the middle of a simmering crisis in medical data management. Like computer servers everywhere, hospital servers store great masses of trivia mixed with valuable information and gross misinformation, all cut and pasted and endlessly reiterated. Even the best software is no match for the accumulation. When we need facts, we swoop over the surface like sea gulls over landfill, peck out what we can, and flap on. There is no time to dig and, even worse, no time to do what we were trained to do — slow down, go to the source, and start from the beginning…
The fact is that even if all the redundant clinical information sitting on hospital servers everywhere were error-free, and even if excellent software made it all reasonably accessible, doctors and nurses still shouldn’t be spending their time reading.”
In the event that there is a medical error, and medical malpractice may be involved, electronic medical records can provide critical information in proving the plaintiff’s case. In fact, in many cases, medical records are the key documentation to support a medical malpractice claim. If you were the victim of medical error, it is important to contact a lawyer as soon as possible in order to protect your legal rights and access any pertinent information. The Chicago medical malpractice law firm of Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish is dedicated to protecting the rights of medical malpractice victims and obtaining maximum financial recovery. If you have been the victim of medical negligence, contact the Chicago medical malpractice lawyers at Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish to schedule a free consultation to learn more about what to do following a medical error. Additional Information:
- Most Common Medical Errors
- How to Know If You Might Have Been the Victim of Medical Malpractice
- 10 Facts about Medical Malpractice
- Are Medical Errors the Same as Medical Malpractice?
Steinberg Goodman & Kalish (www.sgklawyers.com) is dedicated to protecting victims and their families. We handle medical malpractice, product liability, personal injury, wrongful death, auto accidents, professional negligence, birth trauma, and railroad law matters. Contact us at (888) 325-7299 or (312) 445-9084.