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Fear of the Unknown? — Providers Still Hesitant to Adopt EMR

EMR adoption with its associated incentives of roughly $44,000 per physician did act as a catalyst for the transition to EMR system though it has not yet completely met the government’s drive to eradicate paper records altogether. A recent study that took into consideration EMR adoption by hospitals found that the prospect of malpractice litigation is the major deterrent to embracing EMR. Hospitals that were located in jurisdictions that encourage the use of electronic records in malpractice litigation were hesitant to adopt the new system of medical records.

But why? EMR systems are acknowledged for their capability to store information and facilitate exchange of information among providers and thereby help to improve patient care and reduce administrative costs. The downside though is regarding the more detailed information that electronic medical records contain compared to paper records. It is highly possible that the plaintiff’s attorney may make more extensive discovery requests for pertinent medical documentation for medical record review purposes. They may insist on this until they find something, albeit small, that they can use to argue their case. As you can see, the greatest positive feature of the EMR system can be manipulated when it comes to medical litigation and hence the hesitation on the part of providers to implement the system.

The above mentioned research concluded that the concerned authorities must think about effective ways to control and systematize the use of electronic data in court cases. They need to draw up rules on what data can be allowed and what cannot be. Clear-cut guidelines on the use of e-data in courts will help to allay the fears of hospitals and other providers regarding potential malpractice suits and penalties.

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