My essay "Virtual Medical Devices and Vendor Liabilities" was published at the HisTalk website, a website that serves as a healthcare IT industry news/gossip/watchdog site.
It addresses the hold-me-harmless, business IT-type claims made to Sen. Grassley by some healthcare IT vendors that they are "not liable when harm or loss results from the client’s use of the product in diagnosing and/or treating patients" (as indicated in Sen. Grassley's question #9 to hospitals here).
This is a somewhat absurdist claim, since these systems are not exactly sold to allow clinicians to play Super Mario:
I make the point in my essay that an EMR and other clinical IT systems are virtual medical devices, that is, medical devices that happen to reside on a computer, and that healthcare IT vendors are indeed practicing medicine by cybernetic proxy (e.g., in provision of alerts and reminders and clinical decision support).
I also pointed out that a vendor claiming they are not liable when harm or loss results from the client’s use of the product in diagnosing and/or treating patients should put that disclaimer on every screen of their products.
Ultimately, I opine that if a healthcare IT vendor claims to be a partner to clinicians and clinical medicine, they should be willing to accept the responsibilities that accompany such a position and their claims of omnipotent ecstasy about healthcare IT "transforming" or "revolutionizing" healthcare.
See the essay at this link.
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