In Disuse of System is Cited in Gap in Soldiers’ Care, the New York Times takes the military to task for lack of continuity of care. Information from medical records in Iraq and Afghanistan is not always transferred seamlessly stateside even though a system to do so has been mandated for two years.
No doubt there are plenty of problems. But it doesn’t sound worse than the civilian sector, where such inter-hospital medical record systems are almost never in place at all. No one should be under the illusion that this problem is limited to the Defense Department. And we don’t learn from the article if the system is any good, just that it’s been mandated.
Madigan Hospital at Fort Lewis in Washington State comes in for a severe pounding, being blamed for causing a soldier’s suicide because doctors didn’t look into the system to check his records. The Times makes the place sound like a backwater, resistant to the benefits of medical information technology.
I don’t know much about Madigan, but since it is one of the hospitals that signed up for institutional access to advanced decision support software, I give them the benefit of the doubt.March 30, 2007