There might be $19 billion knocking around the economic stimulus bill to convert health care systems to IP-based e-records systems, but it represents nothing more than a pernicious threat to the public. That’s if you heed one man who claims an e-records system “nearly killed” him.
Joseph Bugajski said he went into the hospital for shortness of breath and barely emerged alive after enduring 28 hours in intensive care, where the high-tech, networked health monitors beeped and whirred but failed to summon help when needed. Meanwhile, the system for entering medical information electronically lost his data, returned inaccurate data even as to his medications, and prevented doctors and nurses from accessing the information at the same time, delaying critical care.
“My wife snuck one of my inhalers into my room,” he said, according to a Computer Weekly report. “After I used it, I finally began to recover.”
Bugajski is a senior technology analyst at Burton Group specializing in data management (no irony there, of course). He has reportedly fired off a letter to President Obama noting that “the idea of a national, interoperable, secure, private, reliable, accurate, and instantaneous electronic healthcare data network is delusional and, at worst, pernicious.”