recommended reading

Jailed man narrowly escapes fatal error in electronic health record


In one of a series of alleged errors by a county jail’s new electronic health record system, the EHR recommended what could have been a fatal dose of medication for a heart patient, the jail’s nurses said this week.

A nurse in the Contra Costa jail who is familiar with the patient noticed the discrepancy and administered the proper dosage, the Contra Costa Times reported Tuesday. The new $45 million EHR, which integrates jail medical records with other county health records, drew 142 complaints from nurses during its first month in operation, a nursing union representative told county commissioners.

"I have never in all the time working with the California Nursing Association seen that many (complaints) be filled out," the union representative, Jerry Fillingim, told the newspaper. "Each day these nurses are fearful that they will kill somebody . . . I think the county tried to rush it, making it comprehensive for everything."

Lee Ann Fagan, the registered nurse who says she caught the drug discrepancy, called the EHR “dangerous” in an interview with the newspaper. "It's hard to work in an environment that's so frustrating. What nurses want is for the [electronic health record system] to go away until it's fixed," she said.

Fagan said super-users responsible for training other staff on the EHR had warned county health leaders of problems with the system. Four hours of training before the electronic system went live were “next to useless because the program wasn’t in place well enough to practice,” she told the newspaper.

She and Fillingim said the problems have been most severe in the jail.

In a commentary that appeared in the newsletter EHR Intelligence, writer Kyle Murphy says the Contra Costa jail problems raise a red flag and potentially damages the vendor’s ability to regain user trust. But he also questioned whether human error played a role, noting that the EHR had only been in use for a month and that users had received only two, two-hour training sessions.

(Image via 18percentgrey/

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • It’s Time for the Federal Government to Embrace Wireless and Mobility

    The United States has turned a corner on the adoption of mobile phones, tablets and other smart devices, outpacing traditional desktop and laptop sales by a wide margin. This issue brief discusses the state of wireless and mobility in federal government and outlines why now is the time to embrace these technologies in government.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.