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Copy and paste: doctors' note taking cause medical errors

Doctors' errors are typically the result of fatigue or a miscommunication between staff. However, a recent study has found that patients may be harmed because many doctors have been getting lazy in their documentation in medical records. The electronic medical record has allowed faster communication of patient information and may help prevent medication errors.

Although there are good things about electronic medical records, they can also cause doctors to be misinformed about patient history. Some information is the same on a daily basis for the patient. Doctors might find it easier to use the copy and paste functions instead of retyping some information. When the doctors do this, they sometimes copy information that is outdated, risking an error.

If a patient has been in the hospital for numerous days or weeks, and information is just copied and pasted on a daily basis, the correct information might be overlooked, and another doctor may use outdated information when consulting with the patient. Many people might suspect that these are medical residents or interns, not attending physicians that are making these mistakes, but the study found that all the doctors, no matter their level, were making these errors.

Patient safety is put at risk when doctors are negligent. People who are injured because of medical malpractice might be wise to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. They can help the person seek compensation for their injuries. This compensation could help the patient cover expenses related to the error or for other expenses that aren't able to be paid because of a loss of work or disability.

Source: Amednews.com, "EHRs: "Sloppy and paste" endures despite patient safety risk," Kevin B. O'Reilly, Feb. 4, 2013

-Our law firm handles medical malpractice cases in New Jersey. Please visit our website to learn more.

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