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Doctor – “The eMR Made Me Do It?”

Podiatrist Disciplined for Inaccurate eHR Records

Source: James T. Mulder: The Post-Standard [1/21/11]

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What

The state Education Department has taken disciplinary action against a Liverpool foot doctor charged with professional misconduct.

Who

Dr. Bryan Gregory Popovici, a podiatrist, was fined $2,500 and placed on probation for two years by the state Education Department. Popovici admitted in a signed consent agreement that he failed to keep accurate patient records.

Why

The state said Popovici failed to document diagnostics performed, whether treatment options were discussed with a patient, and his rationale for placing a patient in a hard cast rather than a soft cast. 

The Defense

Meghann N. Roehl, Popovici’s attorney, said the problems stemmed from Popovici’s new electronic medical record system. “Dr. Popovici was an early adopter of electronic medical records,” Roehl said. “The earlier versions had software glitches which he is working hard to correct.”

Editor’s Note: The potential for increased liability because of eMR use has been discussed elsewhere on this ME-P.

Conclusion

And so, your thoughts and comments are appreciated. Do eMRs increase medical malpractice liability? Will eMRs be used as a plaintiff / defense argument in other disciplinary or liability actions? Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

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4 Responses

  1. I follow the philosophy that “most electronic health records are trumped up billing engines”

    Why? As long we have to accommodate CPT / ICD “coding for dollars” requirements, I’m pessimistic that eMRs can ever become more usable. The Meaningful Use regulations, which are designed primarily to allow data-mining and ultimatel security breaches, could well make things worse.

    Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA CMP™
    http://www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.com
    [Publisher-in-Chief]

    Like

  2. Thanks for the comments. I agree that the EMR is a fertile ground for plaintiff’s lawyers. A nurse’s note that you never saw could get you into trouble. I’ve seen a lot of copying and pasting that results in nonsense.

    After I posted this blog on my own site, a reader directed me to a 2007 Boston Globe article (http://tiny.cc/gns26) that describes exactly what I said might happen.

    An MD was anonymously tweeting DURING his malpractice trial and he was unmasked. It’s worth reading.

    Skeptical Scalpel MD

    Like

  3. Thanks for showing the risks inherent about blogging about a case and malpractice trial, and how that could come back to bite you in the ankle.

    Mill Creek

    Like

  4. JM Consulting

    I just came across this case and thought better late than never–The Podiatrist needs to be thankful get got off easy

    Whether you use EHR/EMR or still write your notes, have them transcribed, you are ultimately responsible for the content or lack thereof, plain and simple. I have worked with physicians in both civilian and DoD settings using “Dragon” and the program doesn’t always pick things up correctly, but again, you need to review and signoff on the notes just as you do your billing. There is far too much copy forward or “auto-citing” going on due to laziness. How many times can you copy and paste “The patient was hit by a car today and suffered multiple trauma” Copying and pasting the medications is also a problem since doses change or meds are changed. This is an extremely slippery slope and if you choose to be lazy instead of vigilant then you need to pay the piper.

    Other considerations for incomplete medical records–the level of service billed. If you bill a level 4, but your documentation only supports a level 2 or 3 now you’re looking fraud on more than one level depending on how you submit your claims electronically or via US mail.

    Jules

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