As part of the healthcare reform strategy set forth by the present Administration, electronic medical records were supposed to increase efficiency while simultaneously improve safety outcomes. In some fashion, those goals have been accomplished. However, the advent of the EHRs has created a new set of problems with a whole new type of medical errors.
The Department of Health and Human Services requested that the Institute of Medicine look into the issue. Last week, they issued their report which was in part critical of the vendors of the EHRs.
According to the report, these electronic record vendors “discourage the free exchange of safety-related information in their contracts with health care providers. But serious errors involving these technologies–including medication dosing errors, failure to detect fatal illnesses, and treatment delays due to poor human-computer interactions or loss of data–have led to several reported patient deaths and injuries.”
According to Forbes, “The Institute of Medicine report calls for HHS to work with the private sector to evaluate the impact of health IT on patient safety. However, if there’s no progress within a year, the FDA should step in and regulate health IT.”
I doubt anyone in the healthcare industry relishes the thought of FDA intervention especially since the federal agency is barely able to manage the duties with which it is already tasked.
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