As we move further and further into the 21st century, the digital age has brought waves of changes to our lives. The explosion of cheap, powerful computer processing and nearly unlimited virtual storage has resulted in the shift away from bulky and hard-to-manage paper records in many industries to digital recordkeeping, especially in the healthcare industry. Electronic healthcare records (EHR) are quickly becoming the way of the future at every level of medical care, from the biggest hospitals to the smallest local providers. Not only can EHRs can have a major effect on your health every time you see the doctor, when something goes wrong with your treatment they can make a major impact on your medical malpractice lawsuit, too.
Here’s what you need to know about EHRs, including how they can affect your medical malpractice case, what evidence they may be able to provide for you, and how your attorney can help you make the most of electronic healthcare records in your case.
What’s in an Electronic Healthcare Record?
The contents of an EHR can vary depending on the system that the healthcare provider has set up, but in general, most EHR system will contain information such as:
- The patient’s name and description.
- The date and time of every visit.
- Any vital signs measured during a visit.
- A list of health problems and current complaints.
- A list of medications that the patient is taking.
- Lab test orders and results.
- Any diagnosis of a condition.
- Treatments or medications prescribed.
In addition, most EHR systems are required to keep track of administrative metadata as well, such as the date and time a record was accessed and by whom, whether it was changed or edited, and what those changes or edits were. This information can be invaluable in proving your case.
How Can Electronic Healthcare Records Help Your Case?
If your medical malpractice case is going to have a chance at being successful in today’s digital world, your attorney needs to understand EHR systems. By closely examining all of the information available, an investigation by your legal team may be able to find evidence to help your case, including problems such as:
- Data entry errors that cause the wrong information to be entered.
- Changes or updates to the wrong patient file.
- Typing mistakes resulting in the wrong medication or dosage being prescribed.
- Automatic form-fill features inserting the wrong information into a patient record.
- System changes or upgrades that result in lost data that impacts treatment.
- Software glitches or other problems that result in incorrect information being displayed.
Since EHR systems are required to track administrative metadata, it may also be possible to find out whether there was any attempt to hide or destroy evidence of other medical negligence or malpractice, or whether your records were otherwise accessed inappropriately.
Get Legal Help With Your Medical Malpractice Case
Many poor patient outcomes are not the result of medical malpractice, but when you’ve been seriously hurt by the negligence of a doctor, nurse, dentist, or other healthcare provider, you may have legal options available. A medical malpractice attorney will look closely at the evidence and help you decide if you have a case. Your attorney should also have the skills and knowledge to understand how EHR systems work, and how to best use electronic records to prove your case in a court of law.
If you’ve suffered an injury due to medical malpractice, Wayne Wright LLP would like to hear from you. We’ve spent decades standing up for the rights of patients who have been wronged, and we want to use our experience to help you receive the compensation that you may be owed for your medical bills, rehabilitation, lost time and wages, pain and suffering, and more.
To arrange a free, no-obligation consultation with a legal professional, call us by phone, use the contact form to send an email, or click the live chat box on this page now.