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How can patients protect themselves from medical record errors?

Many Houston area residents have noticed that their medical provider is now using electronic medical records to hold important medical information about them. Although EMRs may appear to be easier to take down information and to give a better picture of the patient's medical history, they can also be the source of medical negligence. So how can patients protect themselves from EMR errors?

EMR errors have become more and more common as medical providers have increased their use. Errors can include patient information that is incomplete or not right, the wrong medication being selected for the patient, entering a wrong dose of medication, and myriad other problems. Patients should be aware that even though the doctor may look like they know what they're doing, medical errors can be happening behind the computer screen the negligent physician is looking at. It is important for patients to keep a few things in mind to protect themselves from errors.

First, patients should keep their own medical records. They should write down what the doctor is saying and compare it against the electronic medical record. It is especially important to review your own medical records after a serious diagnosis, surgery and other major medical occurrence. If there are any errors make sure they are corrected immediately.

Patients should also understand all of their prescription medication. They should know the names of the drugs, the dosage and why it has been prescribed and how long they should be taking it. They should know what the potential side effects could be as well.

If there have been any radiology tests it may be a good idea to ask for a copy for your own records. This can allow you to review them yourself or seek out a second opinion. Finally, bring a voice recorder to medical appointments can help a person by not having to remember everything the doctor said so that they can review the information later.

Source: forbes.com, "Can you trust what's in your electronic medical record?", Paul Hsieh, Feb. 24, 2015

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