High-Tech Hospital Of The Future?
from the it's-about-time dept
Last year we wrote about the idea of computerizing hospital records and getting rid of all the paper. The big concern that everyone seemed to have was about privacy. However, as someone pointed out in that article, with paper records anyone in the hospital can probably just pick them up and read them (especially if you’re wearing a white coat). That sentiment is echoed in this new article about how the Indiana Heart Hospital has ditched the paper trail and gone digital. They’ve found the advantages to computerizing everything to be extensive. For example, any time a prescription is written, the computer checks for possible conflicts/allergies and immediately alerts the doctor. Someone in this article also makes the point about privacy saying, “we have an audit trail so that anyone who ever looks at your chart, we can tell who it was and when it was. Whereas with a paper chart, anybody can look at it and we’d never know who it was.” Of course, the big difference between digital records and paper records, though, is that the digital records can be duplicated and seen anywhere. The paper records work on a “security by obscurity” method since there are only a few localized copies.
Comments on “High-Tech Hospital Of The Future?”
New set of problems
1. Do they back their data up? Stanford University Hospital once spent millions on an IT system from Cemax, but never thought to back their data up. When the server crashed, all records were lost forever, so the hospital dismantled their IT system. This scenario has happened at quite a few other (famous) hospitals where the doctors and MBA’s who run the hospital had no idea how computers work. A French hospital stored their server in a 14th-century dungeon, where rats ate it up. Hospitals are typically loathe to hire their own IT staff, or if they are hired, their needs are ignored — “those guys just want money”.
2. The fat fingering problem — a doctor, nurse, or other technician may check the wrong box on the digital clipboard without realizing it, leading to serious errors.
3. Misleading menus, faulty software logic — this could happen as a result of programmer incompetence, or even politically based confusion within the hospital for the appropriate protocol.