A Life Or Death Assignment 

For the last several weeks, I have been working on a special assignment that could literally mean the difference between life and death. 

I wanted you to be aware of it because the situation is only going to get worse if someone doesn’t do something right away.

The Department of Health and Human Services recently admitted that last year seven out of 100 electronic medical records were matched to the wrong patient. That may not sound like a huge number to you, unless, of course, you are the one who is counting on the doctor to make the correct life-saving decision.  It’s very possible that the doctor is making choices on someone else’s medical information.

Image: medicalerroraustralia.com

My client, the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), the healthcare industry’s leading professional organization for chief information officers and senior IT executives, is designing a challenge for tech innovators throughout the United States, to help correct these potentially fatal mistakes.

This may sound crazy but CHIME said, “The federal government is prohibited from creating a national patient identification system that would ensure that patients are accurately matched to their records. As we continue to digitize the healthcare system though, this problem can’t be allowed to persist.”
CHIME is raising  $1.5 million to fund the National Patient ID Challenge.  Our job is to spread the word. Any ideas? 

Thank you 

Image: Minfirm.com



4 thoughts on “A Life Or Death Assignment 

  1. It all sounds pretty Big Brother-ish to me, but it points out something very important. Every patient needs an advocate. Someone who knows what’s going on and can challenge the professional care-givers. I’ve been that squeaky wheel, lurking in emergency rooms, sleeping on chairs and hunting down nurses in the breakroom. What I have noticed over the last few years is those valuable nurses spend more time at the computer than they do with the patients. I’m not blaming the nurses. There are so many regulations and so many people passing through that keeping up with it all is a Herculean task. My question is this. Is all that technical stuff really better than a chart at at end of the bed that says, “This is Charlie, here’s what’s wrong with him and here’s what we’re doing about it”? People go into healthcare because they want to care for people, instead they spend all their time updating the computer in case somebody sues them for causing that inevitable result we all face, sooner or later. Meanwhile the patient, often woozy with drugs, is faced with a bewildering parade of nurses, technicians and therapists….and we want the guys who run the post office and the IRS to take over our health care? Excuse the rant, but you rang my bell.

  2. Maybe try raising money from the product liability defense bar? There’s got to be an ABA committee of them. $1.5 million is cheap compared to the cost of defending against a negligence claim.

  3. I wish you the best of luck for success in this. Another example of our deteriorating healthcare system. Add these errors to the recent articles about hospital errors and the result is a real crisis on our hands.

  4. It is really quite enraging especially to someone like me who has been a hospital patient more times than would have ever thought, to think about a national patient identification system as noted above that without it would have not let my doctors and the staff correctly identify me with the gazillion of questions and double checks.

    Good help is hard to get! … so without paying hospital workers a living wage and people capable of reading, mistakes seem likely … even before the age of electronic record keeping, how many times did you hear of a doctor removing a wrong limb? and other medical errors!

    Who is protecting CHIME from computer hackers and others that could infiltrate their system? Why would I want to give them any information or let non medical people access to my information? The amount of 1.5 million CHIME is raising to fund a national patient id challenge comes out to a tiny pile of beans per person.

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