FDA Asks Hospitals to Report Safety Glitches in Digital Health Systems

In Letter to 350 Health Centers, generic
Agency Signals Growing Concern

By Fred Schulte and Emma Schwartz
Huffington Post Investigative Fund
3:24 pm | 11 Mar 2010

Concern over safety risks posed by health information technology has led the Food and Drug Administration to step up scrutiny of the products, including digital medical records systems on which the government plans to spend billions of dollars in coming years.

The FDA last month asked a network of 350 hospitals it set up across the country to report data on potential hazards from a range of computer-assisted medical devices, according to an agency document obtained by the Huffington Post Investigative Fund.

The FDA action comes as federal officials forge ahead with plans to use as much as $27 billion in economic stimulus money to replace paper patient records with digital ones. The Obama administration wants to create a digital health file for every American by 2014, saying the conversion will save money and improve the quality of health care.

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