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Computer glitches in health care can cause you to lose more than just your records

A recent case, first brought forward by the U.S. District of Vermont, and reported by Kaiser Health News sheds light on some of the problems caused by medical records software. Forty-seven-year-old Annette Monachelli had seen her doctor repeatedly, claiming she was suffering terrible migraines. Her doctor ordered a head scan. But Monachelli died of a brain aneurysm before she could have the test.

The test could have caught the bleeding in Monachelli’s brain and saved her life. But an investigation revealed that the order for the scan was never sent. An error in the electronic health records system, or EHR, made by eClinicalWorks (eCW), prevented Monachelli from receiving the medical attention she needed.

Other glitches have included mix-ups with prescription drugs, showing patients still taking a drug when they have stopped. Or records showing one patient’s prescription drug list with notes doctors have made about another patient. Today 96 percent of U.S. hospitals have adopted EHRs, up from 9 percent in 2008.

Has an electronic heath record error ever negatively affected you or someone you are close to? Share your story with Voices for Affordable Health.