Opinion

Blur of complicated mounds of medical records can lead to errors from lost information

LETTER — Posted Sept. 20, 2004

Print  |   Email  |   Respond  |   Reprints  |   Like Facebook  |   Share Twitter  |   Tweet Linkedin

Regarding "Communication problems often initiate 'cascades' of errors" (Article, Aug. 16): While the errors you discuss are certainly present, we should recognize that errors of this sort are not merely "communication" errors, but errors of "information transmission."

As the amount of information in each patient's medical record grows, including mounds of paper reflecting HMO referrals, coverage denials, UR review results, etc., in addition to clinical records, much of the important information becomes a blur, and inaccessible in the few minutes a primary care physician has to see a patient today.

Electronic medical records will make great improvements in this aspect of care, but not until even the smallest practices can afford to purchase a system, convert old records and train physicians and staff. Until all of the above is done, the errors will continue, patients will suffer and physicians will have much greater liability exposure.

Let's bring medicine into the 21st century and save lives as well as lawsuits.

Eric E. Shore, DO, Bala Cynwyd, Pa.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2004/09/20/edlt0920.htm.

Back to top


ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISE HERE


Featured
Read story

Confronting bias against obese patients

Medical educators are starting to raise awareness about how weight-related stigma can impair patient-physician communication and the treatment of obesity. Read story


Read story

Goodbye

American Medical News is ceasing publication after 55 years of serving physicians by keeping them informed of their rapidly changing profession. Read story


Read story

Policing medical practice employees after work

Doctors can try to regulate staff actions outside the office, but they must watch what they try to stamp out and how they do it. Read story


Read story

Diabetes prevention: Set on a course for lifestyle change

The YMCA's evidence-based program is helping prediabetic patients eat right, get active and lose weight. Read story


Read story

Medicaid's muddled preventive care picture

The health system reform law promises no-cost coverage of a lengthy list of screenings and other prevention services, but some beneficiaries still might miss out. Read story


Read story

How to get tax breaks for your medical practice

Federal, state and local governments offer doctors incentives because practices are recognized as economic engines. But physicians must know how and where to find them. Read story


Read story

Advance pay ACOs: A down payment on Medicare's future

Accountable care organizations that pay doctors up-front bring practice improvements, but it's unclear yet if program actuaries will see a return on investment. Read story


Read story

Physician liability: Your team, your legal risk

When health care team members drop the ball, it's often doctors who end up in court. How can physicians improve such care and avoid risks? Read story

  • Stay informed
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • LinkedIn