Litigation is not on the schedule of any caregiver facility, but it occurs all too often. And it often is a humiliating, expensive lesson in data management and information technology planning, according to C. Matthew Curtin, an I.T. forensics investigator and founder of Interhack Corp.

"Information from database-driven applications does not look like a paper record," Curtin said, noting that a simple data point such as a height of 5'10" would be stored as 70 (inches) in a database. "In terms of litigation, providers have to understand what kind of care records they can produce. It's a critical task, because it often becomes a million dollar question during lawsuits. You have to remember that databases don't just store information, they perform computations on that information and often change that data in significant ways."

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