Medical Justice

One of the many reasons healthcare records do not have broad adoption, is that they are burdened with a multitude of functions beyond "merely" serving as a communications vehicle among the members of the healthcare team. All these functions are then bundled into monolithic systems by single vendors. It is then typically arduous and expensive to substitute new functionality for existing functions. Perhaps one of the most onerous uses of these systems, one that is not tightly linked to quality of care, is clinical documentation for preemptive legal defense rather than for effective clinical communication and decision making. This brief article in the NY Times offers a path towards safety and rationality so that patients who are injured are justly compensated and those who are not, are not compensated. It also offers as an implicit side-effect, changes in physician behavior and use of electronic medical record systems that would be focused on improving quality of care and communications (to and from patient as well as physician).

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