Advanced technology has made way for thousands of new medical treatments and methods of storing patient information and records. Yet amidst all of these new developments designed to eliminate medical mistakes, errors continue to occur. Some of these errors could lead to patient injuries and deaths. In addition to physicians and other medical professionals acting negligently by pushing the wrong buttons, applying patient notes under the wrong patient or making other mistakes, the software programs themselves may have glitches that could result in a catastrophic error.
One such error took the life of a woman who was complaining of persistent headaches. The physician ordered a brain scan in an attempt to find the cause of the problem. However, the order never made it to the lab. The woman later died of a brain aneurysm, which may have been caught on the brain scan had it been sent to the lab properly.
This is not the only occurrence of medical software errors. Other institutions reported software programs putting the wrong medication start and stop dates on patient files, transmitting the wrong prescriptions to pharmacies and reporting incorrect lab results on patient profiles.
A study published in Health Affairs looked at medication errors from three children's hospitals from 2012 to 2017. Of these errors, 3,243 involved electronic health record errors and one in every five resulted in potential patient harm. It is critical that patients monitor their health care closely and work with their medical team to ensure they are getting the right treatment for their condition.