Hospital EMR Security Raises Concerns

As more hospitals are taking up the mantle of electronic medical records, the issue of security continues to plague the industry.  Every day, more hospitals are identified as having security gaps - sometimes glaring, sometimes minor - but always of concern to the administrators, IT professionals, clinicians, and patients of those hospitals. 

 
A recent study released by the Office of the Inspector General showed "a lack of general [information technology] security controls during prior audits at Medicare contractors, State Medicaid agencies, and hospitals."   124 out of 151 breeches were considered "high-impact" - resulting in costly losses, injury, or death.  
 
Given all that a hospital EMR implementation team and IT staff has to worry about concerning the safety and security of these systems, the one thing they shouldn't have to concern themselves with is the depth and quality of the drug information of their system. 
 
Many drug information vendors can promise drug-drug interaction checking, drug-allergy interaction checking, and other required clinical decisions support functions. But once the developers get into the guts of the medication lists and supporting tables, will they be pulling their hair out and wasting precious days trying to make sense of awkward data structures?
 
Lexi-Data, Lexicomp's clinical decision support database contains: (Note: The Lexicomp solution Lexi-Data referenced in this post has been replaced by newer Medi-Span solutions as of January 2013.)
 
Drug Interaction Data - we'll provide your system data that enables clinicians to screen for drug interactions, including drug-allergy, drug-drug and drug-food
 

RxNorm Mapping - we promote interoperability through mapping to industry standard RxNorm 
 

Drug Reference Data - integrate drug reference information, such as drug images and black box warnings, into your system
 

Patient Education Data - we provide patient education information that allows users to generate patient-specific handouts for medications (available in 19 languages), and conditions and procedures (available in English and Spanish)
 

Dose Range Checking - we provide data that enables clinicians to receive dosing alerts for medications, including limits for pediatric patients

 

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