West Virginia residents who have been subjected to medical negligence should be aware of a study that found a link between malpractice and electronic health records, or EHRs. The study, which was published in Health Affairs, revealed that more than half of pediatric safety errors were related to these records. For example, the study found that one physician ordered five times the recommended dose of a medication because the electronic health record did not alert properly.

The lead author of the study, who is also the director of the National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare, explained that the usability of EHRs plays a major role in medication errors. For example, the visual display can become cluttered, raising the odds that mistakes will be made. The record may also fail to provide feedback when a medication is improperly prescribed.

The team asked clinicians to be especially cautious when placing high-risk medication orders and emphasized the importance of verbally communicating to confirm what is entered in the EHR. The team then stated that staff should communicate with each other to raise awareness of known risk areas and potential hazards. The team also asked clinicians to report any aspects of the EHR system that they believe is a potential safety issue. The author of the study stated that it’s his wish that the report will raise awareness and lead to improved EHR usability and safety.

Patients who have suffered an injury as a result of negligence should consider working with an attorney with experience in medical malpractice. An attorney may be able to prove that the patient was indeed injured as a result of a clinical error, leading to compensation that may include lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages. If the injury requires physical therapy, the patient may also be compensated for transportation to and from therapy appointments.