By Alex Tate
The EHR is taking the Health It industry one step closer to an efficient, more cost effective world. Physicians across the state are adopting EHRs and without a surprise, things are looking good; better than they were previously. With the introduction of this latest gadget gizmo, physicians are able to experience improved medical record documentation and legibility. The tool has earned its place in hospitals and practices as the primary means of achieving better care, better population health and lower health care cost per capita. However, there’s another side of the coin often overlooked.
Malpractice insurers have reported EHRs to be a source of medical liability instead. According to a national medical liability insurer, substantial amount of EHR-related malpractice claims was derived from system errors (42%) and not user factors. Which is why it’s often best to educate yourself of the real risks of outdated EHRs and make the smart decision when investing in health IT.
The percentage of office-based pediatricians using EHRs rose from 58% in 2009 to 79% in 2012, while at the same time the limited pediatric functionality and multiple EHR systems and platforms contribute to interoperability problems (Lehmann CU, et al. Pediatrics. 2015;135: e7-e15).
Primary care physicians are not often cognizant of the reality that they do not have immediate access to data on emergency department visits, hospital admissions, subspecialist reports, laboratory results and acute care provided outside the medical home due to interoperability issues. Fragmented EHRs help in contributing to serious errors in medical management, exposing patients to harm and pediatricians to professional liability.
A more reasonable approach to the issue would involve the provider asking their patients to direct summaries from other providers to the medical home. [Read more…]