How will MOH deal with errors in national patient database entries?

Varied and, often, contrary opinions have been published about the implementation of the National Electronic Health Record (NEHR) system.

A study of a similar electronic system implemented in Scotland found that around 27 per cent of the entries were inaccurate. Of these, 47 per cent were of clinical importance, such as wrong diagnoses.

This is concerning, as several doctors in Singapore have been disciplined recently - one paediatrician was suspended for missing a diagnosis, while another doctor was suspended for consent-taking infractions.

This begs the question of how the Ministry of Health will deal with inadvertent errors or professional diagnoses which eventually are proven to be otherwise.

Are the authorities subject to the same rigorous process of consent-taking that doctors are legally obliged to perform?

As a clinician, I know that it takes an inordinate amount of time and effort to summarise the events of a patient's hospitalisation and future treatment plans.

If a junior doctor works from 5am to 8pm daily and is at risk of burnout (Young doctors here feeling burnt-out, says study; Nov 20), is it surprising to find inadvertent errors appearing in required fields?

I can only hope that the authorities will tread carefully when planning changes to our healthcare system.

An arrogant approach which takes advantage of one's dominant position will bring disrepute to the establishment and harm to the community.

Mona Tan (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 24, 2017, with the headline 'How will MOH deal with errors in national patient database entries?'. Print Edition | Subscribe