“How could this be? How could something so simple as generating a medication list be so difficult?” asked David Eibling, MD, professor of otolaryngology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, as he delivered the Joseph H. Ogura Lecture at the 117th Annual Meeting of the Triological Society, held as part of the Combined Otolaryngology Spring Meetings.
The example could be chalked up to defective software: Although the non-VA medications had been placed on the patient’s list—part of his medical record—the list was not easily viewable by physicians at a different VA hospital.
But actually, the problem was a systems mistake, Dr. Eibling said. When a veteran gets medications from outside of the Veterans Affairs system, those other medications are listed somewhere else, and only if somebody enters them manually. Moreover, the reason the patient was getting his medications from Wal-Mart in the first place pointed to another system flaw nested inside the first system flaw: It was significantly cheaper to do so.