Menu Contact
  • Toll Free 800-698-4054
  • KENTUCKY OFFICE 859-535-0070
  • OHIO 513-548-5728
PLEASE NOTE: To protect your safety in response to the threats of COVID-19, we are offering our clients the ability to meet with us in person, via telephone or video conferencing. Please call our office to discuss your options.

Electronic health records pose safety risk for medical negligence

Ohio residents may be surprised to learn that copying and pasting patient care notes made by other doctors and medical staff in electronic health records or EHRs is a very common practice. It is such an epidemic that one doctor and professor at a major medical university said that it has a name - "sloppy and paste." Imagine you or a loved one is a patient in a hospital and have just undergone a major surgery. Your doctor makes a note in your EHR that you will require a certain dose of a medication.

Then another doctor reviews the patient's record during the next shift and simply copies and pastes the previous doctor's notes into your record without clarifying the note or when it was made. A nurse comes along, reads the second note and interprets it to mean the patient has not yet received the medication and administers a second dose. The result could be catastrophic for the patient as evidenced in an actual case.

The case involved a patient who did not receive life-saving medication due to a copy and paste error in her EHR, the patient died. Research studies show the use of copying and pasting notes in EHRs is becoming an increasingly more common practice and can lead to serious instances of medical negligence.

The problem is more widespread because there are multiple teams of physicians participating in the care of patients and they only communicate with each other through patients' EHRs. One study examined 2,000 progress notes found in 135 patient records by 11 attending physicians and 62 residents in a Cleveland intensive care unit. Eighty two percent of the notes made by residents and 74 percent of the notes made by attending physicians contained more than 20 percent of copied and pasted text.

These rates have been confirmed in subsequent studies indicating the problem is only going to get worse as the numbers of medical facilities that use EHRs increase. One possible fix may be disabling the copy and paste function from the software but that has been deemed too extreme by some physicians and patient safety advocates.

Something needs to get done to protect patients from being exposed to medical malpractice such as medication errors and other forms of hospital or doctor negligence. Patients and their family members who have been harmed by the negligence of a doctor or medical facility do have the right to recover compensation for their injuries.

Source: American Medical News, "EHRs: "Sloppy and paste" endures despite patient safety risk," Kevin B. O'Reilly, Feb. 4, 2013

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Contact Our Team For A Free Consultation

Free Consultation

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Covington Office
606 Philadelphia Street
Covington, KY 41011

Toll Free: 800-698-4054
Phone: 859-578-9130
Fax: 859-578-1032
Covington Law Office Map

Cincinnati Office
8044 Montgomery Road
Suite 700
Cincinnati, OH 45236

Toll Free: 800-698-4054
Phone: 513-651-4130
Fax: 859-578-1032
Cincinnati Law Office Map