EHR upgrade nightmare

August 20, 2010

How to handle electronic health records upgrade issues.

Q: We have used our electronic health record (EHR) system for about two years. The company recently performed an upgrade that has created a nightmare: the program changes patients' medication lists on completed notes. The company doesn't seem to be able to fix it yet, so we are now at two weeks of EHR-altered notes. Should I hire a lawyer?

A: Although I think it might be premature to call your lawyer, it might be an appropriate time to call your malpractice carrier and ask what steps need to be taken to ensure that the correct medication lists are at least available somehow, to prevent drug interactions, etc. Are the accurate lists archived somewhere? I wouldn't give the vendor much more time (say, two weeks) before I contacted my attorney, and I would insist that the vendor pay for any related clerical costs of maintaining accurate lists in the interim and correcting the faulty lists once the program is fixed.

Bowden is with Berkshire Professional Management, Pittsfield, Massachusetts. He is an editorial consultant to Medical Economics. Do you have a primary care-related practice management question that you would like to see answered here? Send it to medec@advanstar.com
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