A technical error caused Mayo medical school to mistakenly email 364 acceptance letters — here are 5 other glitches in healthcare over the past year

On Feb. 13, a "technical error" led to Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine in Rochester, Minn., to send an email letter of acceptance to 364 individuals who were not actually accepted into the program.

"We are deeply embarrassed and deeply regret having caused disappointment and significant stress to these applicants. We are committed to insuring that this never happens again," said Mayo, in a statement released on Feb. 15. The health system is investigating the error and performing a root cause analysis to prevent any future errors.

But Mayo is hardly alone in experiencing glitches, either technical or man-made, that have significant consequences for the organization. Here are five other issues over the past 12 months.

1. In January, Grand Forks Herald reported that around 10,000 Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota customers should have received a required mailing packet in September 2019, but it didn't because of a software glitch. The insurer said the glitch occurred during its transition to a new system and the updated settings didn't recognize the new members that should have received a required welcome kit mailing.

2. Humana reported a glitch in their system that resulted in a billing error for 25,000 beneficiaries of the company's Tricare East region. The incorrect bills ranged from $4,000 to $110,000, and some beneficiaries reported potential overdraft fees or emptied savings as a result. When the error was discovered, Humana began working with banks to resolve fees and blocked charges from the error.

3. On Sept. 19, 2019, thousands of Minneapolis-based Allina Health patients received an email falsely saying their addresses for the health system's EHR portal MyChart, had been changed. Allina blamed a "technical glitch" between the system and affected MyChart accounts that occurred during the uploading process. While the messages may have caused confusion, no patient contact information was altered and there wasn't a data breach.

4. On Sept. 23, Lexington, Ky.-based UK Healthcare's registration system experienced issues after a routine software update that required the system to return to patient records and reroute patients to other hospitals. UK Healthcare accepted just critical care, pediatric, trauma and burn patients while it worked to become fully operational again. The glitch took four days to correct and required increased staff on duty for operational efficiency.

5. Omaha, Neb.-based Creighton University had to rebuild its pharmacy database after an IT error in June 2019 deleted patient records that included prescriptions and refill history, as well as insurance information. The system didn't report the number of affected patient records.

More articles on health IT:
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Why healthcare must be 'reinvented from the inside out': LifeBridge Health CIO talks innovation and data sharing

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