Researcher: ER Patients Dead and Alive in Federal Database | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

Researcher: ER Patients Dead and Alive in Federal Database

October 26, 2012
by Gabriel Perna
| Reprints

According to a report produced by a Loma Linda University Medical Center researcher, and posted on the Annals of Emergency Medicine website, a number of intubated emergency patients within a federal database were listed as both dead and alive. The report calls into the data quality of the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS), which is produced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Eleven patients were recorded as having both died in the ER and been admitted to the ICU," study author Steven Green, M.D., of Loma Linda University Medical Center in Loma Linda, Calif, said in a statement. "In addition, while it is theoretically possible that a patient could be intubated, extubated and discharged, it would be a highly unusual circumstance. It is impossible to believe that more than one-fourth of these patients were placed anywhere other than the ICU or the morgue, and yet that is what 10 years of federal reports indicate. Something doesn't add up."

For the study, Green looked 875 emergency department visits where a patient was intubated, meaning they either die or are admitted to a critical care unit. He found, NHAMCS recorded that nine percent of those patients were discharged from the hospital and 17 percent were admitted to a non-critical care unit, something that he says is medically impossible. Furthermore, he found in 37 of the visits, there was conflicting information in the disposition, including the 11 patients recorded as both dead and alive. He also found one patient being recorded as having been taken to surgery and being transferred another hospital.

"In view of how much the medical community has come to depend upon and trust the NHAMCS database, these findings are troubling,” Green added. "NHAMCS is overall a fabulous program with a talented, dedicated staff. However, it is clear that some important data elements are not being accurately abstracted, and that greater attention to the reliability of the chart review process is necessary."

 

Topics

News

Former Health IT Head in San Diego County Charged with Defrauding Provider out of $800K

The ex-health IT director at North County Health Services, a San Diego County-based healthcare service provider, has been charged with spearheading fraudulent operations that cost the organization $800,000.

Allscripts Touts 1 Billion API Shares in 2017

Officials from Chicago-based health IT vendor Allscripts have attested that the company has reached a new milestone— one billion application programming interface (API) data exchange transactions in 2017.

Dignity Health, CHI Merging to Form New Catholic Health System

Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), based in Englewood, Colorado, and San Francisco-based Dignity Health officially announced they are merging and have signed a definitive agreement to combine ministries and create a new, nonprofit Catholic health system.

HHS Announces Winning Solutions in Opioid Code-a-Thon

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) hosted this week a first-of-its-kind two-day Code-a-Thon to use data and technology to develop new solutions to address the opioid epidemic.

In GAO Report, More Concern over VA VistA Modernization Project

A recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report is calling into question the more than $1 billion that has been spent to modernize the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) health IT system.

Lawmakers Introduce Legislation Aimed at Improving Medicare ACO Program

U.S. Representatives Peter Welch (D-VT) and Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) have introduced H.R. 4580, the ACO Improvement Act of 2017 that makes changes to the Medicare accountable care organization (ACO) program.