Electronic Trace Data and Legal Outcomes: The Effect of Electronic Medical Records on Malpractice Claim Resolution Time
43 Pages Posted: 8 Jun 2016
Date Written: June 6, 2016
Information systems generate detailed "trace" data about what individuals do and when they do it. Trace data may affect the resolution of lawsuits by, for example, changing the time needed for legal discovery. Trace data might speed resolution by clarifying what events happened when, or they might slow resolution by generating new and potentially irrelevant data that must be analyzed. To investigate this, we analyze the effect of electronic medical records (EMRs) on malpractice claim resolution time. Hospitals' use of basic EMRs at the time of the alleged malpractice is associated with a two month (8%) reduction in resolution time, while use of advanced EMRs is associated with a three month (13%) reduction. Because unresolved malpractice claims impose substantial costs on providers and patients, our finding that EMRs speed resolution has important welfare implications. Our study also contributes to the understanding of the effect of trace data on legal outcomes.
Keywords: electronic trace data; lawsuit resolution; electronic medical records; medical malpractice claims; electronic discovery
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