EMR, Ebola And Epic Systems
A Dallas hospital has been in news recently for leaving an Ebola suspect unnoticed. Last week, the alleged hospital revealed in a statement that a flaw in their online health records system lead to potentially dangerous and unfavorable miscommunication between the doctors and nurses. The facility had sent an Ebola victim home despite showing some signs of the disease. The person was admitted with worst symptoms after three days. Hospital officials initially cited information sharing issues and workflow for the botch.
As per the statement, protocols were followed by the nurses and the physicians. However, the hospital says that there was a flaw in the way the nursing and physician portions of the electronic health records interacted in the case.
The statements of the hospital were a blow to the EMR software companies and the hospital backed off a day later. Mysteriously, the very specific flaw in the EMR, which prevented the medical staff from accessing the travel history of the patient from Liberia, disappeared all of a sudden. The Dallas hospital is not the only client that has complained about the data sharing issues and interoperability failures in EMR software applications provided by EMR software companies. This case got the attention of the media and posed a doubt regarding the efficiency of the EMR products. The truth is not yet clear and further investigation is going on the case.
Public forums and EMR software companies are waiting to know more on what happened in this case, since EMR has been made mandatory for all the hospitals and clinics already. The inspector general of US Department of Health and Human Services reported that no one is verifying if the transition from paper to electronic form is improving the health service and patient outcomes. No one is checking if the recipients of the Electronic Medical Records incentives are getting the money redundantly, and no one is taking any serious measures to protect the private data of the patients from theft or exploitation.
In the month of July, The Boston Globe reported that there is no safety oversight of EMR software companies. A malpractice insurance group claimed that they found 147 cases in which the EMRs contributed to adverse effects and affected the patients, and forty-six resulted in death. In the case of this Ebola patient news, we will have to wait more until further details on the case are revealed.