For long-term care (LTC) providers, minimizing legal risk around electronic medical records (EMRs) should be a top priority, according to a session at the recent LeadingAge Annual Meeting & EXPO. While lawsuits against LTC providers are on the rise, litigation involving EMRs is rising the fastest, said Richard Guttman, senior vice president of risk and compliance for PointClickCare, a LeadingAge Gold Partner with CAST Focus. 
 
McKnight's Long-Term Care News reported that the newness of EHRs contributes to the issue. "We are still in the brave new world phase for electronic medical records, and until we set that baseline understanding of what an EHR is ... we're not going to be able to move to more mature phases of streamlining the release of information so that litigation, surveys, audits and data requests can be handled effectively and efficiently,” McKnight’s quoted as Guttman as saying.
 
Knowing the rules around eDiscovery, which is collecting electronically stored information in response to a lawsuit, can help you protect your organization. For example, knowing how an opponent can use emails and texts in litigation, and that destroying data can bring heavy penalties, is critical.
 
Chad Brouillard, attorney with medical malpractice defense firm Foster & Eldridge, echoed the need to plan ahead, long before anyone brings a lawsuit. “If you wait until you get your first e-discovery request, it's too late...because you need a lot of time to prepare and think about it,” said his quote in McKnight’s.
 
Here are ways you can protect your organization:

  • Make sure your EHR can preserve contemporaneous records,
  • Show who authored the records and note when content was changed, and
  • Show that you provided training.

View the full presentation.