Technology is one of the reasons medical care has made huge advancements. Patients in Massachusetts can now undergo advanced testing to diagnose issues and receive treatments using high-tech equipment. Despite these strides, there are still instances of medical negligence, such as giving an individual the wrong medication. In an effort to reduce the chances of these errors, the state is launching a new mandate.

Massachusetts has decided that by 2017, all health care providers in the state must join what is called the Mass Highway, which is a way to manage patient records electronically. It is a move that the entire country may soon embrace. Already, the federal government has stated it will reduce reimbursements for Medicare cases if the provider is not using such a system.

Opponents worry about the cost. According to the federal government, a provider could spend upward of $70,000 for the technology needed to share patient information. In addition to that, there is a cost associated with running the system. However, advocates say it will help avoid medical malpractice issues such as giving a patient medication to which he or she is allergic. It will also free up staff from spending time managing paper records.

Currently, roughly 15 to 20 percent of providers still need to sign in to the system. According to a representative from an IT firm who handles electronic health records, such a network documents patient care and can prevent malpractice cases. An individual who does suffer a worsened condition as a result of doctor negligence should seek an attorney to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for damages.

 

Source: Worcester Business Journal, “Small medical practices pay hefty toll for health records updates,” Emily Micucci, Feb. 17, 2014