ebola-micro-reutersThe Dallas hospital at the center of the U.S. Ebola crisis has changed its story about an alleged glitch in its electronic medical records (EMR) system that it originally claimed prevented doctors from seeing that Thomas Eric Duncan informed his nurse he had recently traveled from Liberia. The hospital uses Epic Systems, an EMR company founded by billionaire Obama fundraiser Judy Faulkner who also advised the Obama health technology team that, to date, has doled out $25.1 billion in taxpayer-funded EMR industry subsidies. Faulkner says her company, which contributes heavily to Democrats and left-wing causes, now controls 54% of all U.S. patient medical records.

On October 2, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas issued a statement announcing it “identified a flaw in the way the physician and nursing portions of our electronic health records (EHR) interacted in this specific case.” The hospital claimed “there are separate physician and nursing workflows” and that, “as designed, the travel history would not automatically appear in the physician’s standard workflow.” The hospital said it modified its Epic Systems EMR software to fix the “flaw.”

“We feel that this change will improve the early identification of patients who may be at risk for communicable diseases, including Ebola,” read the statement.

Mysteriously, the next day the hospital reversed itself in a note titled “clarification.”

“The patient’s travel history was documented and available to the full care team in the electronic health record (EHR), including within the physician’s workflow. There was no flaw in the EHR in the way the physician and nursing portions interacted related to this event,” read the clarification.

Whether Epic Systems demanded the hospital issue a retraction to avert a public relations backlash and embarrassment to one of Obama’s top political contributors is presently unclear. What is known is that Judith Faulkner and Epic Systems oppose“interoperability”—the ability for hospitals and doctors to securely send and receive a patient’s records electronically across competing systems. Doctors say the lack of interoperability is a serious problem with potentially lethal consequences.

Given the stakes involved, some patients have begun turning to interoperable personal solutions. Major retailers like Walgreens.com and drugstore.com now carry products likeMyMedicalRecords that allow patients to store their family’s personal health records in one secure account that any doctor or hospital around the world can access instantly in a medical emergency

With 54% of all patient records in America controlled by the same EMR system company at the heart of the Dallas Ebola crisis controversy, and with interoperability still a decade away, the trend of patient’s taking control of their personal health records is likely to increase. Indeed, hospitals are now required by law to offer patients copies of their electronic media records—something patient advocates strongly recommend.

“The systems can’t communicate, and that becomes my problem because I cannot send what is required,” Dr. Raghuvir B. Gelot told the New York Times.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology calls the problem a “top priority” that will take at least 10 years to fix.

For now, however, members of Congress want answers about the $25.1 billion in taxpayer-funded stimulus funds Obama funneled to crony companies like Epic Systems—companies that continue to thwart interoperability.

“We’ve spent tens of billions on non-interoperable products,” Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA)said at a July House Energy and Commerce Committee meeting.

Indeed, even after Obama gave $25.1 billion in taxpayer money to the EMR industry under the guise of increasing interoperability, citizens have nothing to show for it but bizarre “clarifications” about what was or wasn’t inside patient zero’s electronic health records.

In the meantime, Americans appear poised to do what they have always done: take matters into their own hands, find personal solutions that protect their families, and sidestep Washington waste, cronyism, and dysfunction altogether.


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