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Bad hospital IT systems put patients in danger

Computer problems hinder ability to treat patients, doctors say


This computer needs a doctor (Photo: Colourbox)

December 30, 2013
07:59

by RW


The IT systems in place at the nation’s hospitals are so slow, unstable and unreliable that they put patients at risk.

Six out of ten doctors surveyed said that faulty IT systems threatened patient safety. According to the study, which polled 2,600 of 16,000 doctors working at hospitals, the problems range from systems that do not communicate with each other to daily crashes.

One hospital recently endured a full day of computer crashes that prevented doctors from being able to see what medications a patient used, blood test results, allergies or ongoing treatments.

Emergency treatment has also been affected by cranky IT. A patient recently went to A&E for emergency treatment for his high blood pressure, but could not remember which medications he used. The doctor could not access the patient’s information via computer, resulting in a four-hour wait for critical treatment.

READ MORE: Thousands dying from hospital errors each year

Intolerable situation
Camilla Rathcke, the head of the doctor’s association Yngre Læger, called the situation “completely unheard of”.

“I do not think that we as a society should tolerate it,” Rathcke told Politiken newspaper.

Health Minister Astrid Krag (SF) said that Denmark is a leader in the IT healthcare sector, but that there is always room for improvement.

“We take patient safety very seriously, so it is of course problematic if IT systems threaten patient safety,” Krag told Politiken. 



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