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Israel: Computer Bug Results in Mistaken Lab Results in Hospitals

lab.jpgAs a result of a computer bug or malfunction in the government hospital system resulted in erroneous lab results for patients. Health Ministry officials confirm that erroneous results were recorded by the computer system in recent weeks, but quickly add no patients were harmed as a result.

An alert physician in Assaf HaRofeh Hospital a number of days ago noticed that blood test results he received were identical to a patient he recently saw, alerting him to a possible problem.

A probe revealed the computer was churning out results from a different patient. This traced back, at least in part to the HP Company, responsible for maintaining the computerized system.

It appears that mistakes were made in lab work for some 20-30 patients in October and November in Wolfson, Assaf HaRofeh, and to a lesser extent, Nahariya Hospital. There were three incidents in Nahariya, 3 in Hillel Yafeh Hospital in Chadera and 1 in Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv. In all, 50 errors were found.

The problem is being tracked down and the staff in government hospitals has been informed to alert them to scrutinize lab results.

Officials report there were several tens of cases among millions of patients treated by the system. Prof. Gabi Barabash, who is responsible for the hospitals’ computerized system adds that a physician never relies solely on one diagnostic factor, stressing the clinical picture is the most important diagnostic factor.

(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)

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