The Ebola Patient Was Sent Home Because Of Bad Software

Olga Khazan | The Atlantic | October 3, 2014

The Dallas hospital's debacle highlights the atrociousness of many electronic health records.

...Thomas Eric Duncan has been in isolation for Ebola at Dallas' Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital since September 28—but that wasn't his first trip to that hospital. After developing a fever and abdominal pain on the 24th, Duncan sought care at the hospital on the 25th, but he was sent home.

During his initial visit, Duncan told a nurse that he had recently traveled to West Africa—a red flag that the CDC says should have sent hospital staff scrambling to test him for the lethal virus. Instead, the critical information about his travel was somehow lost in the shuffle among the various doctors and nurses treating him that day.  An understandable oversight, perhaps, but also one to which some might say: #onejob.

On Thursday night, the hospital released a statement explaining exactly how it managed to release an Ebola-infected patient back into America's ninth-largest city.  In short? Blame the robots, not the humans:

Protocols were followed by both the physician and the nurses. However, we have identified a flaw in the way the physician and nursing portions of our electronic health records (EHR) interacted in this specific case...