Re: First Step
"On the number of deaths: As reported in "Medical Errors: a Report by the Staff of U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer" there 210,000 to 440,000 deaths in America each year that result from "medical errors and other preventable harm at hospitals." EHR does not really eliminate the danger. I interviewed a doctor behind the company that designed a better prescription alert system, for such errors are a big factor in those preventable deaths. Dr. Gidi Stein explained, doctors can feel "drowned by the numbers and figures on each and every patient," and so may end up overlooking some small item that is, in fact, critical -- a blood test result, a particular condition, or a drug. The pull-down menu in EMR systems can be problematic, too. A doctor might inadvertently click on the wrong drug in an alphabetical list or select the patient in Room 9 instead of Room 10."
@Ariella: That could be solved by clever software designing. Software diagnosis and drug prescriptions can be made fairly accurate if there are numerous design steps involved. What you are talking about are human/software errors. While the human error cannot be minimized (because someone or the other would always click the wrong drug) it can be made limited using clever software design that makes the doctor review his decisions.