Oct 082012

Increases in technology have made hospital care much easier and efficient. Ideally, patient information can be sent and received much faster than ten or even five years ago. Electronic medical records (EMRs), tracking tags, badges, electronic medication administration systems, etc. have paved the way for better, more accurate and more efficient care.  However, while some hospitals have embraced technology and use many of these kinds of systems, some hospitals still employ outdated systems.

EMRs are not widely used and in fact, only in the past few years, hospitals have begun to use EMRs. However, while EMRs promote efficiency, especially across hospital departments, they can also create new problems, such as information errors or mix ups.  For instance, hospital staff may enter data incorrectly, or documents may be mixed up before being scanned in. This has the potential to lead to patient identification errors or mix ups. For minorities or foreigners  with uncommon names, EMRs can create serious problems.

In hospital and emergency room settings, where staff are often overworked and stretched thin, inaccuracies in EMRs might go unnoticed and lead to mistakes in diagnosis and treatment. Medication errors can also occur. For example, contraindications may be unnoticed and a patient given the wrong medication.

Not every situation of a mix up or error will be actionable under the law. However, where a patient suffers injury or a worsened outcome due to an error or information mix up, the hospital or emergency room is likely to be liable.

For more information about negligence claims against hospitals, click here.

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Published: October 8, 2012

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