Medical Records Errors and Medical Malpractice
While it’s common to think a doctor or nurse can cause medical malpractice injuries, a less common cause is patient medical records errors. About 70 percent of patient records have wrong information, sociologist Ross Koppel, PhD, told CNBC. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology estimates nearly one in ten people who access their medical records online end up needing to correct them.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is the law that guarantees your right to review your medical records. It also dictates that if you think you’ve discovered an error in your medical records, you have the right to ask for a correction.
Common Causes of Medical Records Errors
Without good recordkeeping practices, doctors can overlook important information and misdiagnose a patient or suggest incorrect treatment. A Johns Hopkins study found more than 250,000 people in the U.S. die every year from medical mistakes. Other studies estimate the number to be at least 400,000. As medical records errors become increasingly common with electronic medical record usage, there’s no solid research showing how often these errors harm patients.
The most common causes of medical records errors include:
- Copying and pasting from one electronic medical record (EMR) to another.
- Ignoring Clinical Decision Support (CDS) alerts about allergies and other critical patient information.
- Input errors when transferring data from paper medical records into EMR, including misspellings.
- Incorrect treatment dates, such as listing the wrong date of surgery.
- Not enough space to input all necessary information.
- Mistakes due to lack of training.
- Faulty data entry.
- Wrong scans or test results.
- Missing lab results.
Philadelphia Medical Records Errors Lawyers
Medical records errors for children and adults can have injurious consequences. If errors in your medical records led to significant and/or permanent injuries caused by a doctor, pharmacist, or other medical professional, you may have a valid claim for medical malpractice. If you or someone you know has suffered an injury or death as the result of a healthcare error, contact the medical malpractice lawyers at Lopez McHugh LLP immediately to discuss your options at no charge.