How Texas Health Presbyterian altered its EHR after initially missing Ebola diagnosis

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas first asserted then denied an EHR workflow error led to physicians missing Thomas Eric Duncan's travel history and not initially testing him for Ebola. However, the hospital has made some modifications to its EHR since that missed diagnosis.

In his testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Daniel Varga, MD, Texas Health Resources' chief clinical officer, said the hospital's EHR documentation included a question on travel history that was completed for every patient before Mr. Duncan first presented in the emergency department Sept. 25.

Since then, the hospital has modified the EHR to increase the visibility of travel information, especially information related to recent travel to endemic areas. The screening tool is now placed more prominently and is more clearly labeled. The screening questions have also been expanded to collect more information on patients' potential exposure to people known or suspected to have Ebola. If any of the answers indicate the patient could have been exposed to the virus, a pop-up alerts the clinician the patient is high-risk and provides instructions on what to do next.

Texas Health Resources is not the only health system updating its EHR to respond to the Ebola crisis — HealthEast Care System in St. Paul, Minn., Boston-based Partners HealthCare and others are also taking steps to make sure their EHR will help them identify potential Ebola patients.

More articles on Ebola:

Clorox sales top cleaning products purchased ahead of Ebola
Top 10 infection control stories, October 13-17
Poison control takes on Illinois Ebola hotline

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