The exponential growth of Electronic Medical Records (“EMRs”) has created serious legal implications for caregivers and litigators alike. Not only have EMRs boosted the sheer number of suits, they have dramatically changed the course of medical liability lawsuits. With studies showing that more than half of America’s care providers and 80% of hospitals now use the EMR system, the challenges aren’t going away.
As a health care provider, what can you do to avoid the legal pitfalls?
The first step is awareness. Know that EMRs significantly increase the availability of data and documentation that can either defend or prove a malpractice claim. Second, providers must ensure that EMRs are implemented properly, without increasing the risk of error. This requires the combined efforts of all: information technologists, providers and, most importantly, the patients.
The goal of EMRs is to achieve better record-keeping through “shared accountability” between patients and providers, ultimately leading to safer care. By understanding the legal issues and being proactive in the implementation, providers will be better prepared for whatever the future holds for EMRs.