Banner Health is Arizona’s largest employer and is the largest hospital chain in Arizona. They have hospitals all throughout the greater Phoenix area and Tucson. Several years ago, hospitals began the shift to electronic medical records. While most doctors hate electronic records because of how complicated they are, the system also provides some safeguards for patients. For example, with handwritten charts, doctors or nurses could go into the records at any time and change things without anyone knows. This is troubling, but is even more concerning when it is done after a patient dies or is seriously injured. With electronic records, though, every action taken on the chart is saved by the computer. Doctors and nurses cannot do anything to alter the records without it being logged and saved. We have had many cases over the years, particularly against Banner, in which the electronic records show that doctors tried to cover up their negligent conduct.
In 2018, Banner switched to the Cerner system for its electronic medical records. According to reports filed with the Arizona Department of Health Services (DHS), this switch led to several medical errors in treating patients in Tucson. As expected, Banner denied there were any incidents that caused negative outcomes to patients, but the hospital’s log showed many incidents of medical errors that were caused by the change. One such error resulted in a patient needing to be intubated as a direct result of a problem with Cerner. Unsurprisingly, the biggest issue with all of this was patient safety and harm to the patients. Banner employees also complained that there was insufficient training on the system and that staff was unprepared for the switch.
In total, patients experienced slowdowns in treatment, longer wait times, scheduling delays, and other complaints.
While electronic medical records can help families and lawyers uncover the truth about what caused someone’s death or injuries, the system is also fraught with issues that can lead to more problems.