News: EHR-related malpractice suits on the rise, report says

CDI Strategies - Volume 13, Issue 37

The number of malpractice claims in which the use of EHRs has contributed to patient injuries has been growing, according to a new report from The Doctors Company, a leading malpractice insurer.

The number of EHR-related claims The Doctors Company paid rose from seven in 2010 to an average of 22.5 in 2017 and 2018, Medscape reported. Altogether, 216 EHR-related malpractice claims were closed during the eight-year period.

Though these claims are on the rise, they still only account for a small percentage of total malpractice claims. In 2018, they represented 1.30% of all claims, up from 1.02% in 2017 and 0.35% in 2010, according to the report. And, in many cases, EHRs were only a contributing factor, rather than the root cause of the claim.

The number of EHR-related malpractice claims may be low in the grand scheme of things, but the report found that the cases were often serious. According to the report, patient injuries cited in these cases include death (25%), adverse reaction to medication (23%), need for surgery (15%), emotional trauma (14%), undiagnosed malignancy (13%), and organ damage (11%).

Though the main reason behind the increased claims is likely linked to increased EHR adoption, according to Medscape, the report did cite a few technical issues that could be to blame as well.

Editor’s note: To read the full report from The Doctors Company, click here. To read Medscape’s coverage of this story, click here. To read about how CDI specialists can help reduce common EHR issues (such as copy/paste, etc.), click here. To read an article about reducing query and alert fatigue, click here.

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