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Electronic record systems might increase medical errors

Pennsylvania residents have good reason to be concerned about the safety of their medical care. Even what may seem like a minor mistake on the part of a doctor, nurse or other health care provider may have serious and lifelong consequences for patients. There are many types of medical mistakes and medication errors are one area in which big problems can develop quickly.

As more hospitals move to adopt and use electronic records rather than relying on handwritten paper charts for patient information, many might think that medication errors might actually decrease. After all, there would be no more cryptic doctor's handwriting to try and decipher so it only makes sense that electronic records would be superior in this situation. However, new data may be exposing that these new systems might actually pose a new level of risk to patients.

The complexity inherent in many electronic records systems itself may lead to doctors making mistakes. By the time they flip through multiple screens each with multiple options and drop-down menus, it can be very easy for them to mark something incorrectly. Between January and June of 2016, close to 900 medication errors were made at Pennsylvania hospitals that use these new systems. Eight patients were injured by the mistakes, most of which included the administration of the wrong drug or a missed dose.

Patients who are concerned about a potential medical error might want to talk to a lawyer to learn the best way to proceed with staying safe or seeking compensation.

Source: Government Technology, "Risks of New Technology Highlighted by Medication Errors in Pennsylvania Hospitals," Steve Twedt, April 11, 2017

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