Incorrect copying and pasting of notes on a patient’s electronic health care chart, sometimes called “sloppy and paste” instead of “copy and paste,” is allegedly widespread and can result in harm to patients, according to recent research published in this month’s Critical Care Magazine.

What’s the Problem?

Researchers found that 82% of the patient notes studies had 20% or more copied text and that 74% of attending doctors’ notes exceeded that 20% copy rate. This is not the first study to identify this issue. In 2010, a similar study published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association found a copy rate of 78% of sign-out notes written by internal medicine residents.

While experts acknowledge that copying and pasting text saves time, the danger is that it is not always accurate information that is being copied and pasted. For example, a note may indicate a procedure that needs to be done one day and keeps indicating that the procedure needs to be done on subsequent days, even though it already has been completed. Other serious mistakes may also occur.

Fixing the Problem

In October 2012, the Department of Health & Human Services Office of Inspector General indicated that it would be looking into the problem of cutting and pasting notes or “cloning” notes. Individual hospitals have also announced plans to look into the alleged problem.

If you have been hurt by a doctor, or other medical professional, who copied and pasted incorrect data in your medical chart, then it is important to contact an experienced Louisville medical malpractice lawyer today at 800.634.8767 or 502.210.8942 to learn more about your rights.

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