EMRs Bring New Risks As National Push Ramps Up

Two electronic medical record snafus in two weeks at a Midwestern hospital chain are raising questions about the safety of such health IT systems, The Huffington Post Investigative Fund reports. In some cases, doctor's orders were added to the wrong charts, which could have endangered some patients. No patients were harmed in the incidents at Trinity Health System, which runs 46 hospitals in Michigan, Iowa, Ohio and other states, but, "[e]ven absent any harm to patients, such incidents underscore possible risks faced by even large health organizations that have eagerly embraced new medical software to track patient records and treatment. As the Obama administration ramps up plans to create a digital medical file for every American by 2014 – at an anticipated tab to taxpayers of up to $27 billion – technology's boosters tend to tout its potential benefits to patients and ability to slow runaway medical costs" (Schulte and Schwartz, 8/3).

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