London hospital discovers ‘extreme’ risk to patients due to poor record-keeping

Newswire: May 25, 2017.

Dateline: London.

A London hospital’s administration has concluded its record-keeping practices place its patients at an “extreme” risk, and records managers are backtracking through hundreds of thousands of entries to determine if patients did not receive appropriate care because of it.

An internal audit at St. George’s University Hospital found that two million electronic records were found to be incomplete. Of those, 124,000, or six percent, were classified as “potentially high risk.”

The audit was revealed by a request made under the U.K.’s freedom-of-information laws. It turned up two cases where two patients came to “severe harm.” In one instance, a patient suffered a preventable stroke. In another, a cancer patient’s treatment was unnecessarily delayed.

In the case of the stroke patient, the hospital’s hematology department was not entered into the booking system, nor was the patient flagged as having a blood disorder. In the case of the cancer patient, they missed an “urgent” surgery because their appointment had not been booked after a referral.

The trust overseeing St. George’s University Hospital is being investigated by an external clinical group. The missed referral in the case of the cancer patient is not the only one. The hospital trust has described its clinical data as “fundamentally broken.” A subsequent review has found electronic records problems ranging from aging computers to insufficient data storage.

Read the full story here.