“July 19, 2004 Intelligence: Late Breaking Lab News”

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A transfusion of the wrong type of blood may have contributed to the death of a critically ill woman at Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Sarasota, Florida last month. The patient died about a day after the transfusion. Following the blood transfusion, a reaction had been observed. Attending physicians do not know if the transfusion of the wrong blood type was the cause of death. Sarasota Memorial publicly acknowledged the medical error. It sent the wrong sample to Suncoast Communities Blood Bank to match when it ordered blood for the patient. Someone in the hospital mislabeled the blood sample.

ADD TO: Blood Bank Error

This episode illustrates how significant medical errors within a hospital will be publicized. It is the second serious medical error at Sarasota Memorial Hospital this year. In March, a cardiologist performed a cardiac catheterization procedure on the wrong patient. The man was unharmed by that procedure.

“CONTINUITY OF CARE RECORD” (CCR) WILL PRECEDE EHR

Growing interest in CCR means it is likely to precede the DHR when it comes to medical records. CCR stands for “Continuity of Care Record.” EHR is the “Electronic Health Record.” What makes CCR different from a EHR is that it is a shorthand form of the EHR. CCR is designed to be a portable and interoperable medical information sys- tem that enables the free exchange of data between hospitals, group practices, physicians, and patients. One characteristic of the CCR is that it includes information directly relevant to immediate patient care. Proprietary information, such as billing statements, are stripped out of CCR.

MORE ON: CCR

Vendor and provider interest in CCR solutions is high, because it simplifies many of the barriers still blocking development of a viable EHR capability. CCR is supported by ASTM, the Healthcare Information and Management Society (HIMS), the Massachusetts Medical Society, and other organizations. The 20th annual gathering of the “Toward an Electronic Patient Record” (TEPR) meeting held last May in Fort Lauderdale, attracted a record 4,000 attendees and 160 exhibitors. Enthusiasm for CCR and real-time electronic financial transactions is building, because the path to implementation is much less complex than that of the EHR. Lab managers and pathologists should track the shift in emphasis toward a CCR. It is likely that CCR efforts within a local community health sys- tem will be first to tap lab test data bases.

More executive changes at AmeriPath, Inc., which announced on July 1 that Donald E. Steen, who recently became Chairman of the Board of Directors, will also become Chief Executive Officer. The CEO slot had been vacant since the departure of James New earlier this year. AmeriPath also brought two pathologists onto its Board of Directors. They are Clay J. Cockerell, M.D., from the group in Dallas, Texas and Jeffrey Mossler, M.D., from the group in Indianapolis, Indiana.

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