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Quinn MA, Kats AM, Kleinman K, Bates DW, Simon SR. The Relationship Between Electronic Health Records and Malpractice Claims. Arch Intern Med. 2012;172(15):1187–1189. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2012.2371
Author Affiliations: Department of Internal Medicine, Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates (Dr Quinn), Department of Population Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare Institute (Ms Kats and Dr Kleinman), Department of Health Policy and Management, Harvard School of Public Health (Dr Bates), Section of General Internal Medicine, VA Boston Healthcare System (Dr Simon), and Division of General Internal Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital (Drs Quinn, Bates, and Simon), Boston, Massachusetts; and Chronic Disease Research Group of the Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation, Minneapolis, Minnesota (Ms Kats).
Federal policies have created incentives for the adoption and meaningful use of electronic health records (EHRs).1 While EHRs enhance documentation, make visits more efficient,2 reduce medication errors, and allow providers to track and manage their entire patient population, some physicians harbor reservations about potential unintended consequences of EHRs, including a possible increased risk of adverse events.3,4 Given the potential of EHRs to reduce adverse events and health care costs, the question of whether EHRs reduce the risk of malpractice lawsuits is a logical one. Malpractice claims are associated with harm to patients and are financially costly.5 Actual and feared malpractice claims may contribute to rising health care costs owing to the practice of “defensive medicine.”5
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