Implementing an electronic health record system can significant reduce a practice's malpractice risk, according to a new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital reviewed claims from Massachusetts-based malpractice insurance companies. They found that a practice's risk of being sued dropped six-fold after implementing an EHR system.
The researchers said that a number of factors could account for the association. Physicians who offer high-quality care may be more likely to implement EHRs. However, the team said it is most likely EHRs contribute to lower error rates, which reduces a physician's exposure to malpractice suits. The technology could limit the chances that a doctor will be delayed in delivering a diagnosis or miss one completely.
In their report, the investigators said the findings could provide evidence that continues support for the government's meaningful use program, which encourages physicians to adopt EHRs by offering financial incentives.
"The reduction in claims seen in this study among physicians who adopted EHRs lends support to the push for widespread implementation of health information technology," the researchers wrote.