EHRs: Top 6 Areas of Liability

Woman on phone and laptop computer recently had a great article, entitled, EHRs Can Be Risky Business for Physicians, that summarized nicely 6 things that we agree that all practices should be concerned about with respect to EHRs. We will summarize them here, today.

Top 6 Areas of Liability for EHRs:

1. Incomplete implementation. The author, Jeffrey D. Brunken, writes that many smaller practices and some larger ones are guilty of this. This can take many forms: a practice where only some of the patient records have been input into the new system, or patient records that haven only been partially entered, for example. Having incomplete EHRs in a practice can pose a major problem in the event of a medical liability claim.

2. Mistakes in implementation. Because data is entered by humans, mistakes can be made. If a claim arises, the burden of proof is often on the physician, and if data is missing (test results for example), or notes were never entered because they couldn’t be read, it can be a real problem for the defense.

3. Know where you stand in the liability picture. Especially when joining larger practices, physicians should understand their liability by familiarizing themselves with their EHRs’ security, protocols and who is responsible in the chain of command for training, access to EHRs, etc. Often, liability can trickle up to physicians.

4. Act as if the EHR can become public knowledge. Know that what goes into the EHR can become discoverable evidence. So, make sure to follow-up on all tests, for example, and keep any potential derogatory comments/notes about patients out of the record. And, always provide the most thorough documentation you can.

5. Have a plan in case of data breaches. As major proponents of liability and risk management, we here at can’t stress this enough. We see data breaches happen to the best of physicians. With more and more electronic technology available to physicians and more and more of it portable, devices can get lost, laptops can be left behind in exam rooms, and data can become breached –easily. To help you manage your risk, you many want to consider getting data breach insurance. Contact our medical liability professionals today, to see if it is right for you. Getting such coverage can save you a lot of money and major headaches, should you have to deal with a data breach.

6. Back up and protect your EHRs. The article says (and we agree) that this is not an area to cut corners and save money. Invest the time and money to put safeguards in place –so you never have to deal with a data breach.

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