A new electronic health record system used in correctional facilities in California's Contra Costa County could be putting patient safety at risk, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
Two nurses and a representative from the California Nurses Association expressed concerns about the EHR system during a meeting of the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.
About the System
The $45 million EHR system, developed by Epic, links the county's correctional facilities to Contra Costa Regional Medical Center and other county health care agencies. The county started using the new system on July 1.
Jerry Fillingim, a CNA labor representative, said the system is Epic's first effort to integrate detention health records into its EHR software.
Concerns About the System
According to Fillingim, nurses filed 142 complaints about the new EHR system last month. He said, "I have never in all the time working with the California Nurses Association seen that many (complaints) be filled out."
Nurses noted that the EHR system sometimes:
- Failed to register appointments;
- Did not allow them to access certain medical history data for patients; and
- Provided drug dosage suggestions that could have been fatal.
David Runt -- who helped implement the EHR system as CIO of Contra Costa County Health Services -- and said the system "is just a tool." He added, "The people are the most important part of this process. We can't rely just on a computerized system."
Runt said that the county is prioritizing patient safety and working to resolve the EHR issues (Gafni, San Jose Mercury News, 8/14).