Medical Malpractice and Medical RecordsOctober 5th, 2018
NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana. Electronic medical records, when they were first being promoted in the medical community, were touted for their ability to improve health care. Yet, recent reports and studies indicate that they might not be the magic solution to improved health care that they may have initially seemed to be. Why? According to one doctor writing for the Atlantic, some nursing facilities and doctors continue to rely on paper medical records, other doctors rely on proprietary medical record-keeping technology, and yet others work with electronic records systems that don’t interface well with different systems.
What is the result? The doctor writing for the Atlantic writes that some patients end up suffering through “duplicate procedures.” Other patients who need important procedures might fail to get the treatment they need because the order gets lost somewhere along the way. Yet other patients, particularly those in nursing homes, suffer medication errors because they look at old doctor’s orders, fail to get new orders, or get only a patchwork set of notes detailing a patient’s medical history.
To make matters worse, the information that may be available may be vulnerable to hackers. According to Forbes, as many as 70% of medical records are hacked.
Patients seem to face the greatest risks when they move from hospitals to nursing homes, or when they see multiple doctors, either to consult a specialist or to get a second opinion. With a unified system of medical records, like one that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has suggested, doctors could share information across various hospitals and care settings. According to the Atlantic, fewer than half of hospitals in the U.S. are able to receive patient information from other hospitals.
So, what can patients and their families do to protect themselves? Unfortunately, in the absence of strong and clear medical records, families and loved ones often have to serve as advocates for their ill loved ones. If you know your loved one is supposed to receive certain types of medications, you may have to follow up with a nursing facility to make sure it happens. If doctors in the hospital are not sure what’s initially going on with your chronically ill relative, you may have to fill in the gaps.
For patients with advocates, this can often mean the difference between life and death. Yet, for patients without advocates, their healthcare is often marked by medical delays in the best-case scenarios, and medical errors in the worst cases.
If you believe that your loved one has received compromised care due to medical negligence or malpractice, or due to a doctor’s failure to properly document a diagnosis, care plan, or prescription, you may have certain rights under the law. Visit the medical malpractice lawyers at the The Bowling Christiansen Law Firm in New Orleans, Louisiana. Our Firm may be able to review your case and help you seek justice under the law. Learn more at http://www.lawbowling.com/.
The Bowling Christiansen Law Firm, A Professional Law Corporation
1615 Poydras Street, Suite 1050
New Orleans, Louisiana, 70112
Phone: (504) 586-5200
Toll Free: (504) 586-5200