The implementation of an electronic health record system is associated with a significant reduction in malpractice claims against physicians, according to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
For the study, researchers from Harvard Pilgrim health plan, Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates and other Harvard-affiliated groups analyzed claims data from a Massachusetts-based malpractice insurer dating from 1995 through 2007. They combined the data with information from a survey of doctors administered in 2005 and 2007.
Researchers analyzed the annual rates of malpractice claims filed before and after the physician practices adopted an EHR system.
The study found that 49 unique malpractice claims were reported for physician practices that had not yet adopted an EHR system and two unique claims were reported for physician practices that had completed EHR implementation.
The findings show that the adjusted rate of filed malpractice claims decreased six-fold among physician practices that had adopted EHR systems, according to the researchers. They noted that the findings reflect a reduction in the number of all closed claims, not just claims that resulted in malpractice payouts.