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Academic estimates say most medical records contain errors

On Behalf of Cronin & Maxwell

Anyone who visits a medical facility in Florida has to provide clinicians with health information that they record in medical records. Health care professionals rely on these records to make diagnostic and treatment decisions, so mistakes could harm patients. Errors in medical records are a widespread problem. An academic knowledgeable about health information and technology estimates that as many as 70 percent of all medical records contain mistakes.

He acknowledged that many errors have a low potential to harm anyone. A note that indicates someone hurt a finger on Thursday instead of Friday will not likely have any consequences. More significant errors like mixing up the prefixes hypo or hyper when describing conditions could lay the foundation for a harmful medical mistake. The U.S. health care system also has no method for uniquely identifying patients. A clinician might open the wrong record for someone who has a common name and record notes in the wrong medical record.

When patients spot mistakes on their records, they could have trouble correcting them. In one example, a 20-year-old woman noticed that she was mistakenly labeled as the mother of two children. She needed to file a formal document to remove the erroneous information. Doctors’ fear of admitting to mistakes and distrust of patients throughout the health care system create barriers like this when patients want to correct problems with their records.

Medical errors lead to roughly 250,000 deaths a year. However, a person harmed by a medical mistake must overcome tough legal standards when filing a medical malpractice claim. An attorney could help a victim understand if evidence could support an accusation of medical negligence.

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