• Jan 27

    Versio Staff

    Where’s the Outrage?

    by  Versio Staff

    Where’s the Outrage? | Versio by ScribeRight

    “Deaths by medical mistakes hit records” – that subject line in my crowded inbox grabbed my attention. Whether it was disbelief or morbid curiosity I had to look. Here is what I found: “It’s a chilling reality – one often overlooked in annual mortality statistics: Preventable medical errors persist as the No. 3 killer in the U.S. – third only to heart disease and cancer – claiming the lives of some 400,000 people each year.” As I read this, I turned to my coworker and told him about it. His reply, “Where’s the outrage?”

    The article was written to report on a Senate hearing this summer where patient safety officials put their best ideas forward on how to solve the crisis, with IT often at the center of discussions. The committee was addressing the deaths of more than 1,000 people each day – but they also called attention to the fact that these medical errors cost the nation an incredible $1 trillion each year.

    I found it interesting that much of the discussion was around IT and the promised improvement of patient safety. Some blame was placed on the functionality of the EHRs themselves and how they should be improved to assist in cognitive decision-making. Additionally, in response, it was pointed out that an EHR is just a tool, and “the potential is not going to be realized unless those tools are really focused on improving patient safety. The tools themselves won’t automatically do it.”

    This is true, what the statement doesn’t consider is the quality of the data in an EHR that clinicians rely on to make decisions. Without accurate data, in discrete form, in the proper location, the full functionality of the EHR safety features won’t be realized. Medication contraindications, allergies, test results – without this data properly entered and properly maintained, there is no safety at all!

    When implementing a new EHR, the legacy patient data needs to populate the new system. The data may reside in paper format or in a different EHR. Healthcare systems are merging at a record pace and they need to create one unified patient chart across the system for quality care, population health management, and data mining. It is at this point where a great deal of data loss and inaccuracy occurs.

    Clinical data is massive, it’s complex, and it represents human lives. Until there is more attention given to data integrity during migration, no improvement in EHR design will be able to overcome missing or inaccurate medical information. If a clinician doesn’t know something is missing or wrong, he can make medical errors. Unfortunately, more patient lives will be impacted and the clinician is legally responsible for the outcome.

    These patient deaths happen one at a time, every day. Would there be more public outcry if they happened all at once? Would it matter to the patients or their families? Where is the outrage?

    Versio is a healthcare technology company specializing in legacy data migration, with a proven track record of 100% data capture and 99.8% quality. We call it “No Data Left Behind.” For more information on Versio’s services or to schedule an introductory conversation, please visit us at www.MyVersio.com or email sales@myversio.com.

    McCann, E. (2014, July 18). Deaths by medical mistakes hit records. Retrieved December 23, 2014, from http://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/deaths-by-medical-mistakes-hit-records#.VJhKai_Jvvw.twitter

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