A Case of Murder by EHR

Back in 2007, after Hurricane Katrina, I co-authored a story entitled "Murder by EHR" to showcase the benefits of having electronic health records (EHR), especially in major disaster situations. With the arrival of Hurricane Irene, I decided to reprint the story here for your entertainment and information. It's a bit longer than my normal blogs.

A Case of Murder by EHR

Explicative note by authors Peter Groen & Jaime Nasuti

In the U.S., even though the President has mandated the use of electronic health record (EHR) systems nationwide by 2014 and many politicians support this stance, progress is painfully slow. A recent Health Industry Insights national survey shows most Americans are unaware of the U.S. government's initiative to make Electronic Health Records (EHR) available to citizens within 8 years. To date, only 10% of physician offices and approximately 25% of hospitals have implemented and are utilizing comprehensive EHR systems. Less than 2% of the population are using computerized Personal Health Records (PHR) systems. It is our contention that progress would improve significantly if the popular entertainment media were to bring the issue before people's eyes in the form of a movie drama, TV show, and entertaining short stories. The following short story is one such initial attempt. Originally published in Virtual Medical Worlds back in 2007.


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"Presidential hopeful Congressman Stan Martin has dedicated his political career to trying to prevent similar instances as what the U.S. saw in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. With no national healthcare in place and major resistance by the American Medical Association (AMA) and the pharmaceutical and insurance industry, Congressman Martin has focused his presidential campaign on national healthcare, with an emphasis on the nation-wide implementation of Electronic Health Records (EHR)." - Reuters News Article

Stan could never forget the circumstances surrounding his wife's death. The constant stream of news articles brought the memories back. Surely one of the most reputable hospitals in the nation should have been able to handle her situation, even if there was a hurricane raging. She shouldn't have died. The memory was still painful, even after all this time.

They had spent most of their married life in New Orleans, just outside the French Quarter. Even with the imminent danger of Hurricane Katrina looming over the area, Stan never considered relocating the family inland. After all, they had lived through the threat of other hurricanes over the years and had successfully weathered those storms. The decision to stay was also based on his wife's medical condition. She had to stay on track with her chemotherapy if they expected to beat it this time. After being reassured by the physicians at the LSU Medical Center that they would be able to continue her treatments uninterrupted, Stan had made the fateful decision not to evacuate, but to remain in their home and brave the storm.     To read the rest of the story, click here!