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Measuring the accuracy of electronic healthcare records

New technology in healthcare is designed to minimize medical errors and improve the overall quality of care of patients. More healthcare institutes across the country are implementing the electronic health record system as a way to standardize patient care and reduce errors. Yet, some healthcare records software systems have glitches that have led to some critical mistakes and deadly medical errors

In one case, a woman died of an aneurysm after complaining for some time of headaches. Her doctor had ordered a brain scan that would have showed the aneurysm; however, the order never reached the lab because of a software error. Other software glitches have caused patient notes to be recorded under the wrong patients, diagnosis codes to record incorrectly and the wrong medications sent to pharmacies. In long-term care facilities, medication stop and start dates were incorrect, which could have disastrous implications. 

Another case involved a man who suffered irreversible brain damage because of a software interface problem. Although the lab results and diagnosis were sent, the doctors never received them because the software program did not interface with the clinic. A boy passed away from sepsis after the 12-year-old scraped his arm in gym and was released from the emergency room because his lab results were incomplete. 

While software companies work to fix these deadly glitches, people should be aware of the problem so they can remain involved in their healthcare. It may be necessary to get a second opinion or ask questions regarding the results of their lab tests. If they suspect something is wrong, they should follow up to ensure they aren’t the victim of an electronic healthcare record error. 



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