By Ken Congdon
Health IT has been getting some bad ink again lately. Most notably, a “flaw” in the Epic EHR in use at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas was initially blamed for the failure of clinicians to immediately hospitalize the first U.S. Ebola patient, Thomas Eric Duncan. According to an initial statement by Texas Health Resources, the intake nurse had documented Duncan’s recent stay in Africa in the EHR, but this critical travel information was not designed to automatically appear in the physician’s workflow. As a result, the ER physicians never saw this important detail and never considered it as part of their diagnosis. Duncan was initially sent home with antibiotics, only to return to the ER a few days later in much worse condition. As we all know, he ultimately died from Ebola.