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Study on EHR Adoption by Researchers at Harvard Medical School

The study has been published on the Archives of Internal Medicine website. It involved the pre and post assessment of physicians who had malpractice claims filed against them. These physicians had gone on to implement EHR in their practices, which included both surgical and non-surgical specialties. Lead author of the study Mariah Quinn, MD, MPH emphasizes that the importance of discovering an association between the use of electronic health records and the reduction in the number of malpractice claims cannot be underrated. The research report applauds the “high quality and availability of proper documentation in EHRs” that may have facilitated “successful defense against malpractice claims.”

If as the study indicates, EHRs do in fact reduce errors, we are definitely going to see very few malpractice lawsuits once practices adopt electronic health records and electronic medical records. The researchers feel that the study would bring considerable relief to physicians who are concerned about the new system increasing their malpractice risk. Though other factors may also have contributed to the remarkable reduction in malpractice claims, it is obvious that EHR adoption did have a major role to play.

To look at the positive side, Health IT is very likely to make the prescribing of medication safer, speed up access to patient data, facilitate communication among physicians providing services, and increase compliance with clinical guidelines, as indicated in the study report. With the implementation of electronic medical records in more and more healthcare practices, EHR vendors are likely to incorporate more sophisticated technological features to improve the functionality of EHRs and EMRs.

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