Wrong records and failures in data transfer impede physicians and harm patients, according to an analysis of health technology incidents.
American Medical News
Feb. 25, 2013
In spring 2012, a surgeon tried to electronically access a patient’s radiology study in the operating room but the computer would show only a blue screen. The patient’s time under anesthesia was extended while OR staff struggled to get the display to function properly.
That is just one example of 171 health information technology-related problems reported during a nine-week period to the ECRI Institute PSO, a patient safety organization in Plymouth Meeting, Pa., that works with health systems and hospital associations in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee and elsewhere to analyze and prevent adverse events.
Eight of the incidents reported involved patient harm, and three may have contributed to patient deaths, said the institute’s 48-page report, first made privately available to the PSO’s members and partners in December 2012. The report, shared with American Medical News in February, highlights how the health IT systems meant to make care safer and more efficient can sometimes expose patients to harm.
The ONC said it plans to issue its final IT safety plan this spring. A February report released by the Bipartisan Policy Center — a Washington think tank founded in 2007 by former Senate Majority Leaders Howard Baker, Tom Daschle, Bob Dole and George Mitchell — said oversight for IT safety should be the responsibility of everyone in the health care system. Oversight also should encourage a nonpunitive environment for safety reporting but take care not to stifle innovation, the center’s report said.
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