Health Record Glitch Causes Death

Ananya, a 47-year-old Bangalore resident, kept having major headaches, but these didn’t feel like her usual migraine. Unfortunately, even a visit to the doctor proved fruitless – the pain continued.

Two months later, Ananya died of a brain aneurysm. Ananya had never been tested for or diagnosed until only a few days before her death when she was rushed to the emergency room for a seizure.

A failure of the electronic health record system

Ananya’s case was actually not one of medical fraud, but rather a glitch in the health record software system. To rule out an aneurysm two months prior, Ananya’s doctor had correctly ordered a head scan through the hospital’s software system, but the order never made it to the lab. It had never been transmitted. The test, in theory, would have caught the bleeding in Ananya’s brain.

Electronic health records have created a host of risks to patient safety

Besides software glitches, records are also geographically trapped – they are held wherever that particular visit or procedure took place. It is strange that despite incredible leaps in technology that allow for safe and secure transfer of information, health records are rarely exchanged across health systems. This puts the onus on patients to aggregate health records from various sources. It also burdens physicians who, without a clear medical history, have to guess what types of potentially deadly allergic reactions a patient may or may not experience.

India needs a platform that helps patients track their records across systems, can be safely accessed from anywhere, and does not require manual input.

Have you or a loved one ever lost a medical record and faced a tricky situation as a result?