Use of electronic medical records (EMRs) has been increasing dramatically in the past decade or so as more and more physicians’ offices and other health care providers make the switch from paper to digital records. The use of robotics during surgery has also resulted in a real-time record of everything that occurs during an operation. Patient monitoring also involves the use of electronic monitoring – for example, nurses often have to scan medications before they are administered
While many believe that this is an overall positive change for patients, there are also some noted downfalls that have come up in recent medical malpractice lawsuits. Electronic records often include much more data than traditional paper records, which means that each health care provider has more information to sort – or quickly skim – through before assessing the patient for treatment. There have also been several examples where the records were altered in a way that made them incorrect or incomplete, causing issues for the patient.
However, EMRs have also made it easier for some patients filing medical malpractice suits to get the information and documentation they need. Digital records are generally easier for health care providers to keep and organize, so you’re more likely to be able to get the information you need quickly. Most offices can find, select, and print or even email your records for you in a matter of minutes instead of having to sort through file boxes and make copies. The implementation of EMRs has also led many health care providers to set up so-called patient portals where you can access your medical records yourself online.
Medical records can prove invaluable in your medical malpractice case. Because surgeries, medical administration and ongoing patient monitoring are electronically recorded during and after surgery, mistakes may be easier to expose. Any missed detail or inconsistency in the records may be something your attorney can use to help present your case. If you have questions about how to get your medical records or what your records may mean for your medical malpractice claim, contact a lawyer with experience dealing with medical records.
At Goldsmith & Goldsmith, we have extensive experience investigating electronic information. For example, we recently resolved a neurosurgical case for $6.1 million. The key data was not part of the patient’s records, but was stored electronically.