If this isn't a scary story, I'm not sure what is - especially considering the big push from the federal government for health care organiations to move from paper to electronic medical records. Computerworld reported last week that the U.S. Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs have closed their e-health records portal after discovering significant data errors.
The errors included everything from miscalculated medication doses to the inclusion of an erectile dysfunction drug prescription in the chart of a female patient. The VA decided to shut down the system a week ago because "the potential exists for decisions regarding patient care to be made using incorrect or incomplete data." A VA spokesperson indicated that no patients were harmed as a result of the glitches.
Even so, there is cause for concern because many consider the DoD/VA system the electronic medical records archetype for systems being implemented in the private sector -- in what has become the race for federal incentive dollars.
The whole situation illustrates just how importannt preliminary standards work like that done by the Health Information Technology Standards Panel and Dr. John Halamka actually is.