Medical malpractice claims are based on alleged harm to a patient who believes their treatment did not meet the medical standard of care. In these cases, electronic health records are examined for medical history, diagnoses, medications, treatment plans, lab results, as well as radiology images. EHRs are designed to deliver real time patient records. Medscape.com reports that electronic health records can pose serious malpractice issues:
Although EHRs can serve as your best defense against a problem that could evolve into a malpractice claim, they can also have the opposite effect. That’s because EHR-based tools offer a level of detail about how and when you managed a patient situation—all of it information that’s available to a plaintiff’s counsel in a lawsuit…. Such information may prove that the physician or healthcare organization provided appropriate and timely care, or it may seriously undermine the physician’s ability to prove due diligence and professionalism.
In malpractice lawsuits brought against neurologists, the board certified neurology expert witness examines and opines on the EHR. The digital version of the patient’s paper chart is analyzed by doctors trained in neurosurgery, disorders of the brain, and head and spine injuries. They contribute their expertise as an integral part of the legal team.