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Medical News & Perspectives
March 4, 2009

IT Vulnerabilities Highlighted by Errors, Malfunctions at Veterans’ Medical Centers

JAMA. 2009;301(9):919-920. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.239

Medical errors and software malfunctions that were linked to changes in the electronic medical records system used at Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers across the country are drawing attention to the potential vulnerabilities of such systems.

Although many advocates of electronic medical records systems promote them as a means to reduce mistakes affecting patient care, the recent problems in the VA system and other evidence suggest that malfunctions of these systems or problems with the way they are implemented have the potential to lead to medical errors. Understanding how such problems occur as well as how they might be prevented is particularly critical as the Obama administration considers health care reforms that include more widespread adoption of electronic records systems in health care.

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