Posted By Monique Dever On September 25, 2014

Medical Record Errors: They’re more likely than you think.

What can we learn from Wikipedia?


“Look in your medical record, odds are you’ll find a mistake” is the headline of the article written by Laura Landro, assistant managing editor for the Wall Street Journal. This is an extremely relevant issue that affects both patients and healthcare providers. In fact, Landro states:


“Studies show errors can occur on as many as 95% of the medication lists found in patient medical records. Errors include outdated data and omissions that many patients could readily identify, including prescription drugs that are no longer taken and incorrect data about frequency and dosage.”

It’s imperative that health records be kept current, and this can be achieved by allowing patients to review and help to edit their records. Thanks to Electronic Health Records (EHR), medical record errors can be minimized making records more accurate and current. Consider the benefits of having an EHR with a “Wikipedia-like” format. Thanks to its collaborative editing process, CNET reveals, “Wikipedia is about as good a source of accurate information as Britannica!” Furthermore, medical records are becoming mutually accessible by both patients and providers through Patient Portals.


In fact, federal government, through EHR meaningful use, has mandated that all patients at least have access to their select medical information via a patient portal. The portal allows patients to view their information such as problems list, medications, allergies and lab results etc. Getting patients involved in their health will definitely benefit the patients and the providers. Now, by letting patients review and provide input on their medical record, providers can have more accurate information (e.g. for medications or allergies).


Several large, well-known providers such as the Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic have already begun letting patients comment on, add to and correct their records. With more eyes looking at medical information, reliability and accuracy are bound to increase. Everyone can benefit from this method, but the elderly stand to gain even more than most because they are often prescribed the greatest number of medications. At the end of the day, it’s the patients who know how they’re feeling, and it is their responsibility to make sure that whatever has been communicated with the doctor is a mirror reflection of what is written in their medical records. And, as Nick Dawson states in his article in The Health Care Blog, “It doesn’t just promote or enable patient empowerment, it demands it.”


To read more of Dawson’s thoughts on the Wikipedia-style EMR, visit:


How accurate are medical records in your clinic? Will it help if patients reviewed at least their basic information and let you know if it is accurate? How will providers and staff feel about letting patients view some of the information as mandated by the federal EHR meaningful use?

About Monique Dever

Monique integrates research and networking with her passion for health and well-being to provide important, up-to-date news, resources and current events to the public health communities. She is the Marketing Executive for Patagonia Health, an Electronic Health Records (EHR) software company focused on the public health sector.