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Electronic health records may pose a danger to patients

A vendor for electronic health records software released a statement earlier this month concerning potential safety risks posed by its products. The announcement listed the various parties associated with the health care process, including doctors, pharmacies, patients and their family members, and indicated that each needed to play a role in preventing the risks posed by the software. While the announcement is a dubious method of warning the public about the dangers of electronic health records software, the recommendations it lays out can help patients avoid potentially deadly medical mistakes.

Errors in medication can be prevented

Ideally, doctors and pharmacists would take all necessary precautions to ensure that patients are not prescribed or given drugs that could cause them serious harm. Unfortunately, mistakes are surprisingly common and it is patients who suffer for it. The vendor's announcement contained the following advice given to patients, family members and caregivers:

  • Get access to your records online and review the notes, prescriptions and tests mentioned in those records
  • Stay up to date on the medications you are on, including their names and dosages, and any other orders given by your doctor reflected in your records
  • Confirm that the pharmacy supplied the correct medication in the correct dose, as ordered by your physician 

The right to ask questions

The culture at many health care facilities is not friendly to patients who ask questions and double or triple check the recommendations they receive. Many patients feel distinctly rushed, even ignored, by the medical professionals who are supposed to be helping them. The safety announcement should make it clear just how important it is take control of your situation and protect yourself from medical errors. Ask questions. Get answers. It is your health on the line if medical malpractice occurs. If your doctor is too rushed to speak to you, he or she might be too rushed to avoid harmful mistakes.

Addressing medical errors

If an error has already occurred and you or a loved one suffered as a result, you should take action. Speak to an attorney with experience in medical malpractice litigation. Patient safety suffers when the victims of medical negligence do not assert their rights. By standing up for your rights, you can help others avoid the pain you are going through.

Source: MedCity News, "eClinical Works issues patient safety warning about its EHR," by Neil Versel, 9 December 2016 

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