After 4 Years and $1 Billion, the VA and DoD Abandon Plans for a Fully Integrated EHR

DoD/VA public relations debacle could provide valuable lessons for laboratory organizations looking to implement large-scale IT or operational innovations

Even as the federal government is incentivizing hospitals, physicians, and all types of healthcare providers to adopt and use electronic health records (EHRs), it has admitted failure in its own attempt to integrate EHRs that serve two of the nation’s largest health benefits programs.

Those two programs, the Veterans Administration (VA) and the Department of Defense (DoD), provide healthcare to millions of individuals. In recent years, the two agencies have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to interface and integrate their respective EHR systems. (more…)

Modern Healthcare’s Top 10 Largest Health System Rankings also Reveal Nation’s Largest Hospital-Based Laboratories

These annual rankings show that the nation’s largest healthcare systems continue to grow in revenue and bed count

When it comes to the nation’s largest healthcare systems, it is no surprise that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) tops the list, at least when ranked by annual revenue. That is the finding of a “Top 10” survey of healthcare systems recently published by Modern Healthcare magazine.

This survey is useful to pathologists and clinical laboratory managers because these “Top 10” healthcare system rankings also provide insight as to where the nation’s largest hospital-based laboratory organizations can be found. For example, the VA operates 164 acute-care hospitals. That represents a large volume of clinical laboratory testing for those inpatients.


Cyber-Attacks against Internet-Enabled Medical Devices are New Threat to Clinical Pathology Laboratories

Veterans Administration and Hospitals Taking Steps to Prevent Hacking of Medical Devices and Wireless Systems

Clinical laboratories and anatomic pathology groups face a growing security threat to the integrity of their analyzers, laboratory information systems (LIS), and other devices used daily by their employees.

This rapidly-developing threat comes from outside hackers who are launching cyber-attacks aimed at the various medical devices and wireless systems that are directly connected to the Internet and are used by hospitals, physicians, and other healthcare providers. These cyber-attacks demonstrate a new vulnerability that clinical laboratories and pathology groups should recognize.


VA Investigates Medical Errors at Three Facilities

Effort to notify and test as many as 10,555 patients is under way

Reforms in the healthcare system are requiring fundamental changes in how hospitals and other healthcare providers, including clinical laboratories, report medical errors. At the same time, consumers are tracking the quality differences between providers and insisting on more accountability for medical errors.

These points were highlighted in a Dark Daily e-briefing on March 11, 2009, titled “Medical Errors Become a Headline News Item.” At that time, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) had made public the discovery of multi-year problems at VA clinics in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and Augusta, Georgia. At both sites, improper procedures with diagnostic equipment had been identified. In both situations, the problems meant that thousands of patients may have been exposed to infection.