A major development in New Jersey hospitals and other medical facilities across the country in recent years has been the steady -- and rapid -- implementation of electronic health record (EHR) systems to supplant paper records and handwritten patient notes.
Here is a central irony concerning the electronic health record (EHR) systems that are rapidly becoming the norm in hospitals across the country, including in New Jersey, as expressed by a pediatrician.
Last year, the Department of Veterans Affairs paid out $91.7 million in medical malpractice claims -- the most in at least 12 years, according to the Government Accountability Office. That represented more than 1,500 malpractice claims against VA providers, which actually represented a leveling-off after a 33-percent increase between 2005 and 2010.
The advent of electronic health record (EHR) systems to supplant paper records for patients in New Jersey and elsewhere across the country began in earnest several years ago with the federal government's initiative to reward hospitals upgrading their charts and records with financial bonuses.
Drug-related mistakes committed by a New Jersey doctor or a physician in some other state can encompass a number of diverse factors and situations. Doctors sometimes prescribe the wrong drug to a patient. Occasionally, the wrong dose of a medication is administered, or a medicine finds its way to a patient who has been misidentified. These are all examples of medication error that commonly occurs across the country and sometimes has serious and even fatal consequences for patients.
Here's a business model that would certainly seem to reward laxity and discourage innovation geared toward a higher level of accuracy and efficiency: Reward mistakes.
The push across the medical industry in recent years that has focused upon supplanting paper records with electronic health records (EHRs), with New Jersey providers being no exception, has often been touted as revolutionary.
The Leapfrog Group, with its very special and narrow focus, is an entity likely never heard of by most people in New Jersey and throughout the rest of the country.
It takes a considerable amount of time for some medical studies to be fully evaluated following completion of research and material findings.
"Studies like this give us the opportunity to find out how we are actually doing," says Asad Latif, "compared to how we think we are doing."