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"Plug and Play" Hospitals

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| The bewildering variety of new medical devices in U.S. hospitals promises
| higher standards of care. But it also poses new opportunities for error. A
| growing number of physicians believe that the interoperability of medical
| devices--their ability to communicate with each other--could make hospitals
| safer and more efficient.
| "Today, there are many proprietary systems available from different vendors,
| but the problem is, these systems can't talk to one another," says Douglas
| Rosendale, a surgeon who works on information integration at Veterans Health
| Administration and Harvard Brigham and Women's Hospital. "If they can't
| interface, then they can't share information, which could have an impact on
| patient care." Estimates of the number of preventable deaths caused each year
| by medical errors in American hospitals range from 98,000 to 195,000.



CfH refutes computer failure claims

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| "Very often they are not major incidents as such, but could be caused when
| a patient administration system is running slow or there may be problems
| with the local network. The severity level is attributed by the user and
| this is subsequently very often down graded or amended."
| Many of the incidents that have been reported by CfH include failure of
| the systems used by surgeons to see X-ray pictures on a computer screen
| in wards and operating theatres. On some occasions the system is believed
| to have crashed during an operation, forcing surgeons to suspend the
| procedure while a hard copy of the X-ray is found.


Your data or your life

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| As unlikely and alarmist as this sounds, it could really happen. Intracare
| is the publisher of a popular practice management system called Dr. Notes.
| When some doctors balked at a drastic increase in their annual software
| lease, they were cut off from accessing their own patients? information.
| This situation is completely unconscionable. There can be no truly
| open doctor-patient relationship when an unrelated third party is the
| de facto owner of and gatekeeper to all related data.

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