In his 2004 State of the Union address, former President George W. Bush introduced a plan to roll out EHRs across the country, stating, “By computerizing health records, we can avoid dangerous medical mistakes, reduce costs, and improve care.”
Certainly, the desire to avoid medical errors, a major basis of medical malpractice claims, was one of the driving forces behind EHR adoption. But with the implementation of these systems, the country has seen a rise in what used to be a relatively rare malpractice situation: medical liability claims with an EHR as a contributing factor.
EHRs have evolved but variability remains in what different systems offer, says Mark Graber, MD, FACP, chief medical officer of the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine, who has investigated EHR-related events in medical malpractice claims.
“When you introduce any new technology, you are going to see bugs,” he says. “But you also introduce the possibility of users making errors. Doctors who aren’t trained well on the system may make unintentional mistakes.”