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InformationWeek : Texas Hospital Blames EHR For Ebola Mishandling

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas cites lack of interoperability between nurse and physician workflows as reason Ebola patient was sent home.

Lack of interoperability between the nurse and physician workflows in its electronic health record system was the reason Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas initially sent home Ebola patient Eric Duncan, according to the healthcare facility. And similar interoperability issues could threaten other healthcare organizations, industry executives caution.

Despite telling a nurse he had recently traveled to Western Africa — hotbed of the disease — the patient was released when he first visited the emergency department on September 25. Duncan, who agreed to publicly disclose his health information, returned to the hospital on September 28 via ambulance and was admitted, where he remains in “serious condition,” according to the hospital. Doctors diagnosed Duncan with Ebola the following day.

In reviewing its processes and procedures, the hospital determined it had “identified a flaw in the way the physician and nursing portions of our electronic health records (EHR) interacted in this specific case,” noting there were separate nursing and physician workflows. The hospital apparently uses Epic, according to an InformationWeek article in early 2014 and press releases from the past few years.

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