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Doctor errors caused by copying and pasting information

Maryland residents rely on their doctors to treat them for a variety of common and unusual illnesses and injuries. People believe that their doctor will work on their behalf in order to solve the problem and get them well. However, Maryland residents should remember that doctors are only human. They are capable of making serious mistakes and having lapses in judgment that result in injuries to patients.

Many technological advances have been created in order to try and eliminate the possibility of doctor errors. However, even with this new technology, errors are prevalent within the medical field. Some studies have shown that technology can actually create its own hazards and risks for errors.

One risk of using technology is doctors copying and pasting information from a person's chart into a new file. This, according to some, is a common practice among doctors to save time. However, when doctors copy and paste information, the errors in that information are also copied and pasted. Therefore, the information in a person's chart becomes more misleading and dangerous over time.

By copying and pasting, most of each entry is not changed between patients or between visits. This can leave out details that can be important to finding a diagnosis for a patient. Without these details, misdiagnosis is common.

According to some, the problem with copying and pasting is very widespread in the medical community. Some reports claim that up to 89 percent of doctors have admitted to copying and pasting information from charts when writing daily progress notes. Sadly, some of this information is therefore incorrect. In one study of Veterans Affairs medical charts, 13 percent of the copied material found in patients' charts posed a significant risk to the patient because of the errors present.

While many hospitals and medical facilities have taken steps to reduce the amount of copying and pasting happening by doctors, it has not been eliminated in every setting. When doctors copy and paste information from one chart to another, individuals can suffer. When the doctor makes a mistake, the patient should know the person's legal rights. In some cases, a medical malpractice suit maybe appropriate following a doctor's error.

Source: The Houston Chronical, "Report highlights errors caused by copying, pasting in medical records," Markian Hawryluk, March 12, 2016

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