EHR Issues Become Part of Ebola Story in Texas (Update: THR Clarifies Position on EHR) | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

EHR Issues Become Part of Ebola Story in Texas (Update: THR Clarifies Position on EHR)

October 3, 2014
by Gabriel Perna
| Reprints

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, a Texas Health Resources facility, is blaming issues derived from its electronic health record (EHR) system from the Verona, Wisc.-based Epic Systems as to why Ebola patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, was prematurely released from the hospital.

The Dallas-based hospital released a statement explaining how Duncan was sent home after visiting the emergency department with a temperature of 100.1 degrees Fahrenheit, abdominal pain, decreased urination, and a sharp headache. He was went home with antibiotics. The hospital is facing scrutiny over its decision to release Duncan.

The fact that Duncan, a Liberian, had traveled from Africa, where the disease has spread rapidly and caused more than 3,000 deaths was not disclosed to the doctors on staff that night. Officials from the hospital released a statement saying "the travel history would not automatically appear in the physician’s standard work flow” as part of the EHR design. They say it was instead in the nursing work flow of the EHR and are working to fix this issue. Here is the full statement from the hospital:

Protocols were followed by both the physician and the nurses. However, we have identified a flaw in the way the physician and nursing portions of our electronic health records (EHR) interacted in this specific case.  In our electronic health records, there are separate physician and nursing workflows.
The documentation of the travel history was located in the nursing workflow portion of the EHR, and was designed to provide a high reliability nursing process to allow for the administration of influenza vaccine under a physician-delegated standing order. As designed, the travel history would not automatically appear in the physician’s standard workflow.
As result of this discovery, Texas Health Dallas has relocated the travel history documentation to a portion of the EHR that is part of both workflows. It also has been modified to specifically reference Ebola-endemic regions in Africa. We have made this change to increase the visibility and documentation of the travel question in order to alert all providers. We feel that this change will improve the early identification of patients who may be at risk for communicable diseases, including Ebola.

Update: Texas Health released a clarifying statement on Friday night absolving the EHR of any blame in the release of the Ebola patient. 

Read the source article at Texas Health Resources



As a contractor I have worked on Epic EHR. Normally I have seen the nurse document on the patient chart and then the MD will overtake the same chart that the nurse has documented on, in essence agreeing with everything entered by the nurse unless the MD elects to edit.....


NJ Medical Group Launches Statewide HIE, OneHealth New Jersey

The Medical Society of New Jersey (MSNJ) recently launched OneHealth New Jersey, a statewide health information exchange (HIE) that is now live.

Survey: 70% of Providers Using Off-Premises Computing for Some Applications

A survey conducted by KLAS Research found that 70 percent of healthcare organizations have moved at least some applications or IT infrastructure off-premises.

AMIA Warns of Tax Bill’s Impact on Graduate School Programs in Informatics

Provisions in the Republican tax bill that would count graduate student tuition waivers as taxable income would have detrimental impacts on the viability of fields such as informatics, according to the American Medical Informatics Association.

Appalachia Project to Study Relationship Between Increased Broadband Access, Improved Cancer Care

The Federal Communications Commission and the National Cancer Institute have joined forces to focus on how increasing broadband access and adoption in rural areas can improve the lives of rural cancer patients.

Survey: By 2019, 60% of Medicare Revenues will be Tied to Risk

Medical groups and health systems that are members of AMGA (the American Medical Group Association) expect that nearly 60 percent of their revenues from Medicare will be from risk-based products by 2019, according to the results from a recent survey.

83% of Physicians Have Experienced a Cyber Attack, Survey Finds

Eighty-three percent of physicians in a recent survey said that they have experienced some sort of cyber attack, such as phishing and viruses.