Death by a Thousand Clicks: Where Electronic Health Records Went Wrong

The U.S. government has spent $36 billion digitizing medical records for better, safer, and cheaper health care. Now the system is a mess. This story is crazy:

eCW’s spaghetti code was so buggy that when one glitch got fixed, another would develop, the government found. The user interface offered a few ways to order a lab test or diagnostic image, for example, but not all of them seemed to function. The software would detect and warn users of dangerous drug interactions, but unbeknownst to physicians, the alerts stopped if the drug order was customized. “It would be like if I was driving with the radio on and the windshield wipers going and when I hit the turn signal, the brakes suddenly didn’t work,” says Foster.


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