CNO claims hospital forced her out after she raised concerns about EMR

A former nursing executive at Sonoma West Medical Center in Sebastopol, Calif., has filed a lawsuit against the hospital, alleging she was fired after raising concerns the EMR was a threat to patient safety, reports The Press Democrat.

Autumn AndRa, RN, was serving as CNO of the hospital when she approached CEO Ray Hino and said the EMR, called Harmoni, was unsafe, according to the report.

Ms. AndRa was reportedly terminated from her CNO position April 14 and was offered a position in the intensive care unit, which her attorney Daniel Bartley told The Press Democrat would have been a demotion. Ms. AndRa left the hospital due to alleged harassment, according to Mr. Bartley.

The lawsuit also names Dan Smith, the developer of the EMR software in question, as a defendant. According to the lawsuit, Mr. Smith "has engaged in retaliation against [Ms. AndRa] and other employees who have voiced concerns that Mr. Smith's electronic medical records system, his self-dealing, and his management of medical and financial decisions are not in the best interests of SWMC and pose life-threatening risks to patient care," reports The Press Democrat.

The lawsuit alleges the EMR system mixes patients' records, so information in one patient's chart moves to another patient's chart. It also alleges the EMR has issues tracking and updating patient medications and does not display patient code status information, which informs providers of patients' desired medical interventions, according to the report.

Mr. Hino told The Press Democrat the EMR did not pose any danger to patients, and no patients have been harmed because of software defects.

Not only did Mr. Smith develop the software in question, but he is a significant financial backer and influencer at SWMC. According to a 2015 report from The Press Democrat, Mr. Smith and his wife have contributed nearly $9 million to the hospital in donations and forgivable loans, and he plays a role in "ever major decision" regarding the hospital. Mr. Smith is on SWMC's board of directors. 

Mr. Smith and hospital officials declined to comment on the lawsuit, citing pending litigation, according to the report.

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