Can Software Save Lives?

Guangming Cui | Axial Exchange | July 27, 2012

The New York Times recently reported the death of a 12-year-old boy after being discharged from a hospital emergency room.

A laboratory test report was issued three hours after the boy left the emergency room, with results that may suggest high possibility of bacterial infection.  However, the report did not get the attention of emergency physicians and nurses, and never reached the boy's primary care physician or his family.  The boy died 3 days later of septic shock resulting from bacterial bloodstream infection.

Three and half months after the incident, the hospital announced a significant change of procedures that requires emergency physicians and nurses be immediately notified of certain lab results, and developed a new checklist before the patient is discharged...