The move to electronic medical records was an attempt to lower mistakes and increase productivity. The old joke about doctors having unintelligible handwriting is actually a big issue. When a pharmacist cannot read a prescription, mistakes happen. The same is true when medical notes are challenging to read. The idea was that using electronic methods took out the handwriting factor and also allowed for the quicker transmission of notes. However, this move has not worked as planned even though hospitals in Mississippi use electronic record systems.
Medical Economics explains new problems are emerging from the use of electronic medical systems. These issues have increased the medical risks for patients and added to the malpractice claims coming against medical professionals.
Technology is great when it works, but it often does not work as it should. Bugs, glitches and system errors all create problems with electronic medical records. Some systems are also not user-friendly. This increases errors or makes people not want to use the system as they should.
User error is actually a huge problem. Health care providers do not always train staff properly, so they do not know how to use the system. This may lead to entering information in the wrong file or place and not having it accessible by other medical personnel. There is also the issue of not entering complete information or forgetting to complete parts of the medical record.
Issues with medical records may delay diagnosis or produce a wrong diagnosis. It can lead to medication errors or interactions. It also may cause treatment complications. These are not small problems, either. The typical electronic medical record error leads to serious injury to patients.
Keeping proper records is an essential element of medical care. When files are incomplete, wrong or have other problems, it makes it difficult to provide adequate medical care. There needs to be more work to make this type of recordkeeping viable in the industry.