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Electronic Medical Records and its Benefits in Litigation

Electronic Medical Records and its Benefits in Litigation

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There is a strong trend to convert paper medical records to electronic medical records. This method of recording information about a patient offers many advantages.

A work list of activities that need to be completed for a patient can be created in some electronic medical records systems. For example, the treatments and medications that are due to be administered over the course of a shift may be printed out for a nurse.

Computerization of documentation provides some benefits for those involved in litigation. When asking a facility for a policy/procedure saved in an electronic form, the attorney may need to identify the key words of the document. For example, the facility’s employee might be able to insert the word “falls” into a search box to retrieve all relevant electronic policies.

Other advantages of electronic health records include:

  • One of the most obvious benefits is the creation of legible records. Computer printed records are completely legible, therefore eliminating the confusion caused by guessing at the meaning of handwritten words.
  • The identities of the healthcare providers are easy to determine, as each entry is followed by either initials or a full name and status MD, RN, LPN and so on). If the entry is followed by initials, somewhere else in the document the person’s full name will appear.
  • The programs which incorporate the facility’s standards of care prompt the healthcare provider to enter the essential information. For example, an admission assessment would include information that would identify the patient’s risk for skin breakdown or for a fall. This type of prompting focuses the nurse’s attention on key clinical issues and reminds the nurse to collect and enter the data that would fulfill the standard of care.

This material comes from Nursing Malpractice, Fourth Edition.

Med League provides medical expert witnesses to trial lawyers. Please call us at (908)788-8227 or contact us today to discuss your next case.

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