EMR safety in spotlight after baby’s death

InformationWeek, July 1, 2011
Some health IT advocates are bracing for a new anti-technology backlash after a major newspaper called the safety of safety of electronic medical records into question with a front-page story about a premature infant who died from a medication error that stemmed from a data-entry gaffe. The lead story in Monday's Chicago Tribune chronicled the death of Genesis Burkett, a baby boy administered a fatal overdose of intravenous sodium chloride at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, IL last October. The child reportedly had received more than 60 times the dosage a physician ordered. An attorney for the Burkett family also blamed a mislabeled IV bag. The incident has thrust the issue of EMR and electronic health record safety back into the spotlight. "While many people think that EHR usability is focused solely on user satisfaction, there are other key factors, such as patient safety, that are impacted by the usability of an EHR. The means by which patient data is accessed and displayed in an EHR system will ultimately affect the decisions of healthcare providers and the potential for medical errors," Booz Allen Hamilton senior VP Kristine Martin Anderson said.

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