Guest Column | October 23, 2014

EHR's--The Increasingly Fragile Bridge To Communications In Healthcare

By Dr. Donald Voltz, MD, Aultman Hospital, Department of Anesthesiology, Medical Director of the Main Operating Room, Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology, Case Western Reserve University and Northeast Ohio Medical University.  

A board-certified anesthesiologist, researcher, medical educator, and entrepreneur. With more than 15 years of experience in healthcare, Dr. Voltz has been involved with many facets of medicine. He has performed basic science and clinical research and has experience in the translation of ideas into viable medical systems and devices.

Thanh Tran, CEO of Zoeticx, Inc. also contributed.

The recent spate of infectious diseases identified in the US-whether Ebola, enterovirus D68 or just the beginning of the plain old flu season, healthcare has become increasing complex.  It involves more  players in  terms of patients, providers, administration, insurance , governmental bodies and now CDC screeners at airports. This leaves more risk for miscommunications and patient error as we have seen in the death of Eric Thomas Duncan who was sent home from a hospital with a temperature of 103 degrees, an obvious breakdown in the flow of critical data among medical professionals.

This crucial data was never automatically escalated, and apparently never sent to the right people at the right time. More of these errors  will continue and push the number of deaths from medical errors past the 1,000 patients killed daily. This can all be changed and perhaps  Duncan’s life saved if hospitals began addressing the issue of EMR interoperability and implementing connectivity solutions available today from EMR software connectivity developers.

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