Using software correctly can help protect you against chiropractic malpractice, but you should also be aware of potential problems caused by misuse.
When you document properly and verify that your software is installed and used correctly, practice management and EHR systems can keep your practice on-track. Bad EHR practices can result in malpractice lawsuits, so doing your due diligence is important.
Your EHR risks
Reviewing your EHR and practice management systems may help you reduce your malpractice risks. Software that does not work properly may create mistakes in records, cause information gaps or mix information from different records. Not properly tracking record authorship, keeping old software, avoiding updates, and using software with glitches may also put your practice at risk. Protecting the integrity of patient records is important. Your efforts to strengthen your own systems may help you prevent future problems.¹
A few common EHR practices that may increase your risks include:¹
- Not tracking authorship-If your EHR does not record who is authored or edited a patient’s record, identifying the person responsible for a mistake may be difficult or impossible. To protect yourself, you need to keep your login and password safe from others, including others working in your office. Have distinct logins and passwords for every individual helps protect you from liability problems later.
- Making documentation mistakes-Errors may be introduced into patient records whenever changes are made, new records are created or whenever templates are used. Pre-populated information from past visits, other patients or from templates can add extra information that you may forget to verify and correct. If you do use templates, take special care to review all information before saving your changes.
- Incorrectly using software-Installing or using EHR and practice management software incorrectly may introduce mistakes to patient records or prevent you from saving records properly. While your software vendor may provide guidance on installation and usage, you are responsible for verifying that your EHR is working properly and was installed correctly. As such, you are potentially liable for the failure of your software and your vendor may not be liable at all. How you use your EHR and practice management software should reflect typical use for the industry, your specialty and the types of payments you accept.
- Using old or bad software-Glitches, bugs and errors are common with any complex software. EHR and practice management systems may have these problems occur because of how their code was written, how your computer system interacted with the software or as a result of some other software issue. Regularly updating your system and installing patches from your vendor can help prevent these bugs. You should report any bugs or glitches you notice to your vendor right away so they can help.
Doing your own research to determine how your EHR and practice management systems should be used may help you protect yourself. If you do face a malpractice lawsuit, being able to demonstrate that your office uses software best practices and follows careful procedures may help you. Do the best you can to establish smart office and software practices so you can protect yourself.¹
Learning how to document each patient visit properly can help prevent EHR mistakes. After each patient, be sure to record your documentation as soon as possible and avoid saving your documentation for later. By then, you may forget to record key information. If you are unsure how to document or code part of a visit, taking a course, or purchasing a guide may be worth the investment. Some vendors have webinars and even in-person classes available if you need help using your EHR or practice management system.¹
By learning to use your software correctly, you may help prevent chiropractic malpractice lawsuits and protect yourself.
- Chesanow, Neil.”8 Malpractice Dangers in Your EHR.” Medscape Business of Medicine. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/828403. Published: August 2014. Accessed: March 2017.
- Karam, LM. “Avoiding Malpractice Dangers with EHRs.” Podiatry Today. http://www.podiatrytoday.com/avoiding-malpractice-dangers-ehrs. Published: January 2016. Accessed: March 2017.