VA Problems Highlight Importance of EMR Standards Work

Lora Bentley

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.

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Mar 8, 2010 8:54 AM Bob Brewin Bob Brewin  says:

Lora -

It is worth noting that Computerworld published this story the day after I broke it, and did a less error free story on and

See here:

If you read the CW story carefuly, you will see that they linked to a patient safety alert hosted on the GovExec server,as the VA did not publicly distribute that alert.

We - GovExec and NextGov - have commited a considerable amount of money and time to deliver to do oriignal reporting.

It should be recognized.

Please vist.

Bob Brewin

ink[-stained wretch

Sep 6, 2010 3:11 AM Mark Metzler Mark Metzler  says:

Here is a useful new website you might want to consider:

Biomedical Device Integration Tech Cormer

"An archive of technical documents, protocols, standards and procedures useful for clinical engineers and IT professionals involved in biomedical device integration and connectivity to electronic medical records (EMR)"


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