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Electronic records linked to pediatric medical errors

A medical mistake made during pediatric care may seem like a nightmare for California parents. Doctor errors, including medication mistakes, can have significant effects on a child's health and well-being. In some cases, these kinds of errors derive from a surprising source: the electronic health records (EHRs) used to track a child's health and treatment. These systems often have clunky workflows and imprecise entry systems that can make some types of medication errors more likely.

Some researchers have noted that federal requirements for EHRs do not distinguish between adult and pediatric patients. Therefore, safety warnings and other safeguards may not activate if a child is prescribed an inappropriate dose. For a recently released study, researchers reviewed thousands of error reports related to medication errors for children linked to EHR usage at two children's hospitals and one large healthcare system. They noted that the EHR system may not fully display all of the relevant health information related to a particular child's care. Instead, the information may only be shown to pharmacists, rather than to the administering nurse. This can easily lead to the administration of an incorrect dosage or medication.

In other cases, problems with data entry can pose potential problems for patients. Clunky interfaces could make it difficult for clinicians to properly specify the age of their patients. In other cases, the EHR may default to particular medication schedules that are inappropriate for a patient.

The side effects of medication errors can be significant, especially when children are involved. The parent of a child who has suffered hospital negligence may want to consult with a medical malpractice lawyer about their options to pursue compensation.

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Law Offices of Neil M. Howard
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