When the medical industry began changing over to electronic medical records, it was seen as an opportunity to bring the age-old note-taking practice into the modern age. Streamlining the records process and making your information available to other doctors in a fast and simple format—it seemed to be foolproof and a move in the right direction. But according to a new study, many doctors are taking shortcuts, utilizing the “copy and paste” functions way too often, and setting themselves up for problems down the road.
Recent Study Shows Medical Errors Still Prevalent
The study looked at thousands of medical progress reports created by 62 residents and 11 physicians in the intensive care unit at a Cleveland hospital. What they found was that 82 percent of the notes from residents and 74 percent of the notes from physicians included 20 percent or more copied material. In other words, the medical staff wasn’t taking the time to really document the medical process.
Your records are used by your doctor(s) and anyone that comes in contact with them to know your history, what has been going on with your medical past and what treatments you’ve received. They include important information like prescription drug regimens and drug allergies. But when doctors aren’t taking the time to really document their treatment, these records are bound to have gaping holes.
Interestingly, things like the severity of the patient’s condition, what brought them to the ICU or their age affected whether or not a physician copied their records.
Why Are There Still Errors Even With Electronic Medical Records
So, what’s the problem here? Experts suggest medical records have turned from being a source of valuable information to simply being a way to document for billing practices. In other words, the records system has moved to further take the “care” out of the healthcare system.
“If your communication isn’t accurate, timely, complete and factual, then you really could be transmitting bad information forward that then creates this tumbling effect,” said the president of Healthcare Risk and Safety Strategies Ann Gaffey.
Some, advocating for the doctors, have said that perhaps the problem is that doctors haven’t taken time to learn the electronic records process. However, if they know enough to copy and paste, one would think they would understand the premise of full and complete note taking.
Good medical treatment should be standard given the cost of healthcare. But it isn’t always that way. Hospitals, doctors, and medical staff in general make mistakes. When you are the victim of such medical mistakes, the Indiana medical malpractice lawyers of Baker & Gilchrist may be able to help. Call 877-928-2537 today to discuss your case.