Physicians subpoenaed in Rhode Island, allegedly after reporting EHR risks

The Rhode Island Department of Health reportedly has served at least four emergency room physicians at Providence-based Rhode Island Hospital with subpoenas, according to the Politico Morning eHealth newsletter.

The subpoenas allege the physicians participated in behaviors that fall under the umbrella of medical misconduct, on account of mistakes the physicians reported themselves. The mistakes, which didn't injure any patients, reportedly were meant to draw attention to risks associated with the hospital's EHR.

The subpoenas primarily relate to medical scans, such as X-rays, which were mistakenly ordered by the physicians. EHR experts who spoke with Politico said these errors are common because it's easy to click on the wrong icon or patient name in complex system interfaces.

Physicians and EHR safety researchers have raised concerns over the subpoenas, suggesting that the department's response could discourage future clinicians from voluntarily reporting medical errors.

"Anyone punishing individual providers for these events is punishing the wrong thing," Jason Adelman, MD, chief patient safety officer at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, told Politico. "These are system issues, not the provider being reckless. The focus should be on things like EHR usability and safety."

When asked about the subpoenas Jan. 25, Rhode Island Hospital spokesperson David Levesque provided the following statement to Becker's Hospital Review:

"Rhode Island Hospital is deeply committed to the safety of our patients and the continual improvement of our healthcare environment, including the processes our caregivers and staff follow. Furthermore, the hospital's culture of transparency remains a point of pride and is unwavering. Rhode Island Hospital supports our world-class physicians, nurses and other staff and appreciate their tirelessly work in providing world-class healthcare."

More articles on legal and regulatory issues:
Ex-Florida hospital director admits role in $1B fraud scheme
Nebraska children's hospital fires back at surgeons' libel claims
10 employees hit NewYork-Presbyterian with $15M discrimination suit

© Copyright ASC COMMUNICATIONS 2019. Interested in LINKING to or REPRINTING this content? View our policies by clicking here.

 

Top 40 Articles from the Past 6 Months