A THREAT TO PATIENT SAFETY

Computer crash wipes out 50 000 patient records

The records of upto 50 000 patients in southern Sweden are thought to have been wiped out as a result of a computer crash. 

The crash in Skåne happened three weeks ago and the medical records have still to be recovered.  The National Board of Health and Welfare in the region told newspaper, Dagens Nyheter, that the loss of records was a big risk to patient safety. 

"It can be a great risk to patient safety when we do not have access to adequate information. We do not know what we can recreate, but we have had a case before from school healthcare where information was lost and it was not recovered. That was very dangerous and it was the medical records of 100 people," said Mette Marklund, director of the National Board of Health and Welfare's southern region. 

Region Skåne's medical records computer system, Swedestar, which crashed on August 22, is used by 14 healthcare centres and two hospitals. The documents on hard drive contained information such as prescriptions, treatments, allergies, future appointments and complete patient medical histories. 

Dagens Nyheter writes that the two hospitals and healthcare centres reliant on the data have not been able to work as effectively since the crash. The hard drives were immediately sent to a specialist in data information recovery in Norway but the work is still on-going with experts brought in from the United States.

The cause of the computer crash is not yet known and medical staff have since resorted to writing everything down on paper. 

In 2012, Region Skåne will be responsible for the controversial new central medical records system which will hold records of patients from the whole of Sweden and which critics argue, goes against patient-doctor confidentiality and is a threat to personal integrity.