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Friday, October 03, 2014

Ebola Big Mistake-Relying on Technology

'Flaw' in Electronic Health Record Blamed for Medical Error Involving Ebola Patient

Electronic health records (EHRs) are a source of frustration to many physicians, says a study conducted by the RAND corporation and commissioned by the American Medical Association. (AP File P - When a sick Liberian man walked into Texas Presbyterian Hospital last month, "Protocols were followed by both the physician and the nurses," the hospital said in a statement released Thursday night.

The man told a nurse he had come from West Africa, where an Ebola epidemic is raging.

The nurse entered it into the nurses' portion of the Electronic Health Records, system but -- "As designed, the travel history would not automatically appear in the physician’s standard workflow." in other words, would not be seen in the doctors' portion of the Electronic Health Records.  The doctors had no clue. Probably the man had no insurance either.  He was sent home with antibiotics.

Get it?

Of course, the Texas Presbyterian Hospital has scrambled to make sure that these two parts of a hospital - doctors and nurses - at least speak to each other electronically now.  Especially in regard to Ebola.  Well, they'd better.  We need humans to speak to each other, and technology to back up the human nature of MISTAKES HAPPEN!  

I would hope that when there is any suspicion of Ebola, that having insurance or not doesn't enter into the equation. 

A provision in President Obama's 2009 stimulus law required physicians and hospitals to adopt Electronic health records "for each person in the United States by 2014."
While some Americans have raised privacy concerns, physicians themselves have raised concerns about EHRs degrading the quality of medical care.
As reported one year ago, a RAND Corporation study conducted for the American Medical Association found that EHRs were a source of frustration for many doctors.
Those surveyed said that current EHR technology interferes with face-to-face discussions with patients; requires physicians to spend too much time performing clerical work; and degrades the accuracy of medical records by encouraging template-generated doctors' notes.
How many of us are first interviewed by an office worker, be it a nurse, or a clerk.. then seen by the doctor, who hasn't a clue as to what the office worker wrote in the records?  
We do not need another 'Tragedy of Errors'.
But human nature being what it is, and electronic technology relying on 'garbage in-garbage out'.. More mistakes will happen!   
Be prepared!  
Don't panic, just get ready.  Make plans, get food, medical supplies, cleaning essentials, disinfectants. Stop, look and listen.
We do not need more 'Tragedy of Errors'.
  1.   Cached
    An electronic health record (EHR), or electronic medical record (EMR), is a systematic collection of electronic health information about an individual ...

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