Bill Would Require ‘Track Changes’ on Electronic Medical Records

A bill working its way through the state Legislature would make it more difficult for health care providers to modify or delete electronic medical records and leave no record of the change.  “Changes to an EHR (electronic health record) can go unnoticed and can be harder to trace than changes made to paper records,” said Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, the author of SB 850, in a hearing last month. The bill passed the Senate on May 31. It will be heard in the Assembly’s Health and Judiciary committees in the next few weeks. Supporters of the bill point to the case of Diane Stewart, a woman who died suddenly following a knee operation at the Stanford University Medical Center a few years ago, as evidence of why such measures are needed. Investigators at the state Department of Public Health found that relevant portions of Stewart’s computer file had been erased after her death and that a nurse was instructed to make postmortem entries to describe her care.  Stewart’s family alleged that hospital employees tried to cover up their error. The hospital has denied any wrongdoing in the case, according to Hearst Newspapers.


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