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Medication errors are top cause of EHR-related malpractice claims

Georgia readers may be interested to learn that over 30% of all patient harm events involving electronic health records in medical malpractice claims are caused by medication errors, according to a recent study. The study was published in the Journal of Patient Safety.

For the study, researchers analyzed 248 EHR-related malpractice claims submitted to the CRICO database between 2012 and 2013. They found that 31% of EHR-related claims involved medication errors, another 31% involved treatment complications and around 28% involved diagnostic mistakes. They also found that nearly 70% of EHR-related cases that led to patient harm took place in ambulatory care settings. Meanwhile, the study found that medicine was the top service area for all claims while surgery, nursing, obstetrics/gynecology and radiology rounded out the top five.

In addition, researchers found that 63% of EHR-related claims were caused by user errors, not system errors. Examples of user-related errors included cases where clinicians had inadequate EHR training, failed to notice test results in patient charts or ignored critical EHR alerts. According to the study, more than 80% of all EHR-related cases involved serious patient harm.

In order to reduce the risk of EHR-related claims, the authors of the study suggested that health care professionals, health care organizations and health IT vendors learn from the cases included in the study. They also recommended that health care professionals use simple EHR interfaces, discourage the use of copy-paste functionality, improve EHR training and promote health IT standardization.

Medication errors injure thousands of patients throughout the U.S. every year. Victims of these mistakes may need to take legal action to recover compensation for their losses. An attorney may help a victim prepare a medical malpractice claim and file a lawsuit in court. If successful, the lawsuit might lead to a settlement that covers medical expenses, lost income and other damages.