Health record system delayed ...again


The Department of Veterans Affairs’ electronic health record system will be delayed. Instead of putting out a shoddy product, the VA has elected to halt deploying the system until June 2023.

This comes after a previous delay that was announced last summer, which said that the deployment would be pushed back until January 2023.

It’s apparently been one software glitch after the other at the locations they’re using as testing -- problems with scheduling, referrals, medication, test results and medical orders. And more. Months ago the VA’s Office of Inspector General uncovered many instances of patient harm resulting from the new program. Specifically, over 200 doctor orders went astray, sent to nobody knows where, resulting in 149 instances of patient harm -- at just one testing site.

They’re calling this the “assess & address” period, and it’s good that they’re halting the expansion. Patient safety has to be at the top of the list, especially the issuing of prescription drugs.

Meanwhile, on the off chance that your local facility is a testing site, take charge of your care.

If you think you should have gotten an appointment or referral (maybe the doctor said so?), follow up. If you’re awaiting a test result, call them. When a medical provider says you’ll be given a prescription for a drug, write down the name of that drug and the dose. (Ask how it’s spelled.) When you receive your drug, check it carefully. Go online to a drug checking website (www.drugs.com/pill_identification.html) and be sure the photo of the pill online matches what you received. Use a magnifying glass to look at the tiny numbers on your pills.

At this writing, my best guess about the sites where the program is being tested are: Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center, Wainwright Memorial VA Medical Center, Central Ohio Healthcare System and Roseberg and White City, Oregon.

A handful of senators, meanwhile, are saying that the program needs to be dumped, not only because of the patient safety concerns, but because the price tag has increased by billions of dollars.

(c) 2022 King Features Synd., Inc.

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