Close to half (45 percent) of physicians in a recent survey believe that electronic medical record (EMR) systems will make them less vulnerable to malpractice cases. Among the almost one-fifth who have had a malpractice case in which documentation was based on the EMR, over half (55 percent) said the EMR was helpful.
Also, nearly 20 percent of respondents stated their malpractice insurer offers a discount for having an EMR System.
The results are from a recent joint survey by Medical Records Institute, Inc. of Boston and Professional Risk Associates, Inc. of Midlothian, Virginia, which sought information regarding adoption of EMRs in physician practices and the impact of EMR usage on patient safety and malpractice risk.
EMR includes documenting patient care electronically instead of on paper, thus enabling point-of-care authorized access and offering functionalities such as electronic prescribing, trending lab data, decision support, alerts and others.
Respondents from 115 practices in 27 specialties representing 36 states completed the Internet-based survey.
Of the 62 percent of respondents with EMR systems, over two-thirds have stand- alone systems (not part of a regional or hospital system) and have had the systems for over a year. A physician was identified as the “power user” by almost half of the practices with an EMR system, and nearly two-thirds indicated their providers fully use the system.
Approximately a quarter of those who have EMR systems complained the system does not have the functions they need, and a similar percentage stated they did not receive adequate training.
“These survey results are a great tool for medical malpractice insurance carriers to begin researching the impact of EMR functions on malpractice claims”, advised Bob Meadows, executive vice prersident, Professional Risk Associates, an independent insurance agency. He urged carriers to develop discounting programs for physicians who properly use EMR technology.
Sources: Medical Records Institute, Inc.
Professional Risk Associates, Inc.
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