Sunday, November 8, 2009

Electronic Medical Record Article Misses Main Point

The Washington Post has an article on October 25, 2009 called:

Electronic medical records not seen as a cure-all

The sub title is:

As White House pushes expansion, critics cite errors, drop-off in care

Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, October 25, 2009 

Four of the points made in the article were:

"Anonymous reports sent to the Joint Commission, the body charged with certifying 17,000 health-care organizations; Grassley's staff; and the Food and Drug Administration disclose problems, including:
-- Faulty software that miscalculated intracranial pressures and mixed up kilograms and pounds.
-- A computer system that systematically gave adult doses of medications to children.
-- An IT program designed to warn physicians about wrong dosages that was disconnected when the vendor updated the system, leading to incorrect dosing.
This Story
-- A software bug that misdiagnosed five people with herpes" 

This article misses the entire point in my opinion.  

The article fails to compare Health Care prior to electronic records and specifically the total number of deaths because electronic records did not exist.  The author digs down into low level examples of computer systems that made mistakes on a wrong dosage and then paints a broad brush that electronic records are inherently bad.   This begs the question, "so having manual paper records are better?"  Of course not.  The author misses the big picture....