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EHRs Pose Risks For Providers

The takeaway: Beware trusting what you didn't create and can't validate.

I've wondered when risk managers would speak up on the liability risks of basing treatment decisions on EHRs.  Right about now as it turns out...

From Mary Vanac writing for MedCity News,
"Two Case Western Reserve University professors say potential software or hardware problems, as well as user errors, could make the systems liabilities.
“'Plaintiffs whose alleged injuries are associated with EHR systems could sue healthcare providers for medical malpractice,' wrote Sharona Hoffman, professor of law and bioethics, and co-director of Case Western Reserve’s Law-Medicine Center, and her husband, Andy Podgurski, professor of computer science at the university’s School of Engineering, in their article E-Health Hazards: Provider Liability and Electronic Health Record System published in the Berkeley Technology Law Journal."
Let's say you're an ER physician treating a patient in full cardiac arrest.  Let's also say the patient's EHR contains some clinical information but you know the patient travels extensively and has received care elsewhere.  No matter what politicians and EHR vendors tell you, the risk managers are right: you (and your patient) are at LESS risk if you assume the electronic record is, at best, incomplete and, at worst, inaccurate.

In short, beware trusting what you didn't create and can't validate.  Sorry.  I've seen Nirvana and it's NOT spelled E-H-R.


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