Electronic Health Records Present Potential Malpractice Threat


One of the highly touted benefits of electronic health records (EHRs) is reducing malpractice incidents and medical errors by providing improved documentation, an automatic safeguard against medication errors and drug interactions, and a system to track test results and follow up with patients.

However, physicians who aren’t careful when implementing and using an EHR can increase their malpractice liability.

According to a November article published in the New England Journal of Medicine, physicians should be aware of malpractice pitfalls of EHR use. Some of these include the following:

The initial transition from paper to electronic records may create documentation gaps.

Failure of clinicians to use EHRs consistently may lead to gaps in documentation and communication.

E-mail advice multiplies the number of clinical encounters that could give rise to claims and may heighten the risk of claims if advice is offered without thorough investigation and examination of the patient.

More extensive documentation of clinical decisions and activity creates more discoverable evidence for plaintiffs, including metadata.

Temptation to copy and paste patient histories instead of taking new histories risks missing new information and perpetuates previous mistakes.

Failure to reply to patient e-mails in a timely fashion could constitute negligence and raise patient ire.

Better access to clinical information through EHRs could create legal duties to act on the information.

While the benefits of EHRs far exceed the drawbacks, awareness of potential consequences is critical to ensure patient safety as well as the integrity of a practice.


  1. Frank I agree with the statement you said and I have several views of medical doctors appreciating CureMD Services and products.

  2. I think physicians know the importance of using emr software and one will surly agree that doctors need to use EMR carefully, Electronic Record Management can reduce the replica results.It’s very important to choose the right EMR for your practice. For example, CureMD, ranked No 1 cloud based EHR
    , Physicians admire its features such as e-Prescribing, portal and practice management, etc. So i think it would be good if you get demos from multiple EMR vendors.

  3. While I agree that if doctors do not use an electronic health record correctly they could make some serious mistakes, not all EHRs allow a doctor to make decisions without prompting them to double check before they sign-off. For example, Practice Fusion, a free web-based EHR
    , has such decision prompts for features such as e-Prescribing, labs, etc., to enforce safe medical decisions. To keep doctors involved in their EHR, we need to create features that save them time and money. Features that they wouldn’t be able to function without.


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