Physician practices using electronic medical records (EMRs) saw a reduction in malpractice claims, according to a recent study.
The study titled "The Relationship Between Electronic Health Records and Malpractice Claims”—conducted by Harvard Medical School researchers was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine—tracked groups of Massachusetts physicians who had previously been surveyed in 2005 and 2007.
Physicians were insured for different durations and used EMRs different amounts of time. Thus, the number of insured years was calculated for each physician before and after EMR adoption. The researchers then used Poisson regression to determine whether EMR use was associated with malpractice claims, modeling the rate of malpractice claims per year in periods with and without EMRs.
Of the 189 doctors surveyed in both 2005 and 2007, 27 were named in at least one malpractice claim. In sum, 33 of the 275 physicians who responded in 2005 and/or 2007 incurred a total of 51 unique claims. Forty-nine of those claims were related to events occurring before EMR adoption; two were related to events occurring after EMR adoption.
The results suggested that the “implementation of [EMRs] may reduce malpractice claims and, at the least, appears not to increase claims,” according to the study’s authors.