How an EMR destroyed this practice’s medical records

A cautionary tale indeed.

Chris Rangel details the debacle of his institution’s electronic medical record implementation. Apparently, the IT consultants didn’t work well in concert with the EMR technical people, with Dr. Rangel noting a circle of blame between the two parties.

Indeed, the worst-case scenario happened – a catastrophic loss of patient data:

The backup system was supposed to be saving every EMR database copy but instead it was just backing up the entire hard drive. This meant that as the EMR chewed up data to save space, the backup system copied the files off the hard drive only after the data had been eaten. Then the EMR people decide to remotely update the EMR software which screws it up – of course – and in the process of reverting back to the prior version . . all the records after December 2008 disappeared. Vanished.

And you wonder why doctors are so hesitant to trust their medical records to the current, outdated technology.

We’re currently throwing money at a Windows 95 era of electronic record programs. There’s a real danger that swift adoption of these flawed systems will prevent any meaningful modernization of maintaining patient data.

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