Friday, July 16, 2010

FDA MAUDE Database: Patient Outcome - Death

I present another health IT problem case from the FDA's voluntary MAUDE (Manufacturer and User Facility Device Experience) database below.

From FDA's description of MAUDE:

  • MAUDE data represents reports of adverse events involving medical devices. The data consists of voluntary reports since June 1993, user facility reports since 1991, distributor reports since 1993, and manufacturer reports since August 1996. MAUDE may not include reports made according to exemptions, variances, or alternative reporting requirements granted under 21 CFR 803.19.
  • The on-line search allows you to search CDRH database information on medical devices which may have malfunctioned or caused a death or serious injury. MAUDE is scheduled to be updated monthly and the search page reflects the date of the most recent update. FDA seeks to include all reports received prior to the update. However, the inclusion of some reports may be delayed by technical or clerical difficulties.
  • MAUDE data is not intended to be used either to evaluate rates of adverse events or to compare adverse event occurrence rates across devices. Please be aware that reports regarding device trade names may have been submitted under different manufacturer names. Searches only retrieve records that contain the search term(s) provided by the requester.

I somehow missed the following case when I wrote the Oct. 2009 post 'Our Policy Is To Always Have Unabashed Faith In The Computer ... Except When It Screws Up, And Then It's The Doctor's Fault' but I have added it there as well:
Event Date 11/19/2006
Event Type: Death
Patient Outcome: Death

The medication review screen of the subject device does not specify the exact dose in milligrams of combination medications. For example, narcotics are combined with tylenol in at least two strengths. Liquid narcotic tylenol-oxycodone combination is reported in ml, not mg. The exact dose of tylenol is not specified and requires knowledge of the combination medication dose in the volume specified.

Certain fields of the grid do not specify the volume, but rather state "date/time" requiring another click or pop up screen. The immediate knowledge of tylenol dosage in mg is directly related to understanding and preventing excessive doses. In the subject, 10 ml of acetaminophen-oxycodone is indicated as having been given 3 times over 4 hours. That means that 1950 mg of tylenol was administered in 4 hours while the patient was in a state of starvation and receiving other medication that increase the effects of tylenol.

This dose would equate to 11,700 mg of tylenol over 24 hours, nearly 3 times the maximum daily dose in otherwise health people. In the ensuing days, the patient developed acute renal failure, presumably acute tubular necrosis, and died. In the absence of other etiology, the excess tylenol was the culprit. This was not considered as etiology ante-mortem. The counterintuitive screen impaired the professionals. The pharmacist did not recognize and stop the medication, the nurses administered it, and the excessive dose, clinically meaninglessly listed as a volume of 10 ml -given 3 times in 4 hours- of acetaminophen-oxycodone, was missed by the physicians. Adverse events have been ascribed to "user error" by vendors.

The device offers a potent propensity to life endangering oversights. There are other screens on this device which present information that interfere with clinically useful visualization of data.
[Who designed these screens, I ask? Clinicians, or business IT personnel used to designing inventory systems for widget control? - ed.] The data does not flow to the professionals. It is not represented in a meaningfully useful manner.

The professionals need to hunt for it. As such, the user unfriendly screens [see this link on mission hostile HIT - ed.] impair safe medical care consistent with the impediment to expedient professional understanding of what, exactly, is the dose of medication and how much was administered to the patient. This sentinel case of death is directly attributed to user unfriendly screens on this device.

How many cases like this, as well as "near misses" related to health IT go unreported, nationwide and worldwide?

As in my paper "Remediating an Unintended Consequence of Healthcare IT: A Dearth of Data on Unintended Consequences of Healthcare IT",
nobody really knows; these devices are unregulated with no requirements for reporting.

However, let's roll it out nationally anyway, because HIT will deterministically "revolutionize" medicine. Just ignore those spoil-the-party, man-behind-the-curtain prattle from writers like these.

We can safely ignore all contrarian research and literature, of course, as we all know HIT will revolutionize medicine from the definitive certainty of HHS in "The 'Meaningful Use' Regulation for Electronic Health Records", NEJM, Blumenthal and Tavenner (10.1056/NEJMp1006114, July 13, 2010):

The widespread use of electronic health records (EHRs) in the United States is inevitable. EHRs will improve caregivers’ decisions and patients’ outcomes. Once patients experience the benefits of this technology, they will demand nothing less from their providers. Hundreds of thousands of physicians have already seen these benefits in their clinical practice.

[Except for those who
haven't - ed.]

And our government's called BP Energy Company cavalier?

I offer no additional comments.

-- SS

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