An internet television program that explores the intersection of medicine and the law.

The Most Common Errors/Liabilities in Physician Use of EMRs

By Whitman Johnson to EMR/EHR


In this episode, Healthcare Matters interviews ALL MD attorney Whit Johnson on the most common errors/liabilities in physician use of electronic medical records as well as how he would advise physicians on avoiding these errors/liabilities in the future.

Johnson is a shareholder at CURRIE, JOHNSON, GRIFFIN & MEYERS P.A. He practices law in Mississippi, specializing in trial work, with a focus on the defense of physicians, hospitals and other health care providers from claims of medical negligence. Johnson was recognized in 2011 as “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers in the field of medical malpractice law.

Question 4 of 5

Interview recorded June 30, 2015


Mike Matray: Hi I’m Mike Matray, your host of Healthcare Matters where the medical and legal communities come together to discuss health care matters. Today’s guest is Whit Johnson. Whit is a share holder with Currie Johnson Griffin & Myers in Jackson, Mississippi. Welcome to the program Whit.

Whit Johnson: Thanks, glad to be here.

Mike: In our defensive medical liability claims, what have been the most common errors or liabilities in physician use of electronic medical records? How do you advice your physician clients on avoiding these errors, liabilities in the future?

Whit: Well this is going to be a scary thought because most of the errors that I’ve had to deal with have actually been errors not from my clients, but from some other healthcare provider that adversely affected him. For example, we talk about EMRs being a relatively recent thing, but in certain areas, it’s been around for a long time. For example at pharmacies, the individual pharmacies would have each patient’s individual drug log for lack of a better way to put it. And I’ve had two cases where my client got sued or two different clients got sued for having prescribed certain medication, and they weren’t the ones that prescribed the medication, the pharmacist inputting it, he just input the wrong doctor, because my client was the regular doctor, and this was somebody else who the patient had seen out of town or in another clinic or something like that. And I ended up having to go pull the original hard copy of the script from the pharmacy to show that my guy hadn’t written the script.

Another case I had that I recall was a drop down box issue where the whole issue and the case, it was a uterine rupture case after multiple C-sections, and the whole issue was that the patient in pre-term labour. The nurse who was seeing the patient when she first got admitted, the drop down box for why are you here included onset of labour, and that’s what she clicked, because it was closest, and the patient was like 32 weeks, and just had some uterine irritability, but the closest thing to what it was was onset of labour. So that’s what she clicked, and now the whole trial, I’m having to face, well look the nurse knew she was in labour, how come you couldn’t tell she was in labour? From an individual physician stand point, I think what I see is again just not paying attention. I actually had a case one time where this wasn’t an issue, but the medical records it involved a patient who had been paraplegic and wheelchair bound for 30 years from an accident he suffered when he was a teenager. Well my client who’s examining him is just clicking boxes, and he clicks gate in station normal. So the things I see really are almost all related either to somebody else who’s not paying attention or to the physician himself who is not paying attention.