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Electronic health records missing mental health data

Oregon medical professionals know that electronic health records are being adopted by more and more health care systems. These records are supposed to make it easier to research a patient's medical history, improve patient safety and save money. However, a study by researchers at Oxford University shows that EHRs for mental health patients are often fragmented and incomplete, which reduces their usefulness.

For the study, researchers compared the data found in mental health EHRs with the information found in insurance claims. They focused on data such as diagnoses, the number of doctor visits and treatments for bipolar disorder and depression. They found that EHRs are often missing important data, and the missing information could result in medication errors and other medical mistakes.

For example, bipolar patients received an average of 8.4 days of outpatient behavioral care each year, but 60 percent of those visits were missing from their EHRs. Meanwhile, patients diagnosed with depression received an average of 14 days of such outpatient care, but 54 percent of those visits were missing from electronic records. The authors of the study concluded that multiple external sources of information should be used to paint a more accurate picture of a patient's health trajectory.

Missing EHR data could put a patient's health at risk, and when such a patient is required to obtain additional medical care are treatment or is otherwise harmed as a result, in some cases it could be considered hospital negligence. An attorney who has experience with these types of matters can make a determination as to how best the patient can seek compensation for the losses that have been sustained.

Source: Science World Report, "Electronic Health Record (EHR) Found to Have Glitches in Recording Patients Data, Study Reveals," Johnson Denise, April 26, 2016

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