Avoiding EHR Pitfalls

Course Description:

Electronic Health Records (EHRs) potentially promote safe and efficient medical care by providing legible and accessible records across locations and specialties, improving documentation, delivering messages and reminders and facilitating workflow.  However, like all medical devices, EHRs can potentially induce errors and cause adverse events.  Thus, EHRs represent a promising technology that brings unique challenges to interpersonal communication and documentation.  In a 2012 Physician Insurers Association of America survey in which SVMIC participated, more than 50% of carriers reported having EHR-related claims.  Among dozens of issues were:  cases where the printed records differed substantially from data entered during visits; electronic "metadata" were used to discredit physician statements about dates and times; templates, "copy/paste" and "auto-populated fields" generated clearly false documentation; and alerts and reminders were overridden or neutralized.

Often, the physician is unaware of the risks presented by electronic health records and is surprised when the printed record differs substantially from the data entered during the patient visit.  Ideally, the EHR will provide the same, if not better, documentation than a paper chart.  That includes a clearly legible, fully documented and comprehensive medical record which employs pertinent guidelines and alerts, mandatory security measures and complete and easy access to the stored information.

This course will examine common risk issues for EHR users and offer expert suggestions for mitigating liability.  The program will utilize an interactive audience response system to engage the audience and will include a videotaped interview with a defense attorney offering anecdotes and advice to improve defensibility of electronic documentation.


Upon completion of this program, attendees should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate how EHRs can increase medical liability exposure;
  2. Identify specific risks to patient safety and privacy that arise from EHRs;
  3. Illustrate how EHRs may complicate medical malpractice defense; and
  4. Review strategies to reduce adverse events related to the use of EHRs.

 Speaker:  Michael Victoroff, MD

Michael Victoroff, MD, is chief medical officer at Lynxcare, which provides health record analysis and certified health record summaries for patients with complex conditions. He is also CMO at Parity Computing, which specializes in natural language processing for science and healthcare. In addition, Dr. Victoroff is the risk management consultant for electronic information systems at COPIC, Inc.

Dr. Victoroff has 30 years of experience in medical informatics. In 1989, he developed ChartR, an electronic medical record system, and sold it commercially for eight years. In 1992, he developed the “Taxonomy for Medical Errors” to classify adverse events in healthcare. He is an associate clinical professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and a member of ASTM Subcommittee E31 on healthcare informatics. He collects reports on hazards of health information technology through a multitude of sources.

Dr. Victoroff is a graduate of St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland and Baylor College of Medicine.

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