by Andrew Hanson
It is the carefully stated policy of healthcare institutions that employees must document every glitch in any system, care practice, or device that might adversely affect patient treatment. If a report is not investigated by authorized personnel within the institution; if the report is suppressed by top administrators; if the employee is threatened and/or fired in an attempt to keep the report from being made public, then someone may become a “whistleblower.”
Whistleblowers, by definition, are seen as enemies by the institutions they work for. Institutions often use the threat of litigation to silence whistleblowers. Their reasons for doing this involve money, corporate reputation, and, sometimes, unlawful behavior.
Adventist Today has discovered a story about an Adventist healthcare system and a whistleblower. The healthcare system she worked for was in a hurry to replace an old, inefficient record keeping system with a “unified suite of digital solutions proven to streamline administration, reduce costs and enhance patient safety” in which “an online digital chart displays up-to-date patient information in real time, complete with decision-support tools for physicians and nurses. Simple prompts allow swift and accurate ordering, documentation, and billing.” (Quoting the company provided the new system.) This is a change that many health care organizations are making today, encouraged by national policies.
Of course, this record-keeping change required an initial investment of millions of dollars in hardware, integrated software programs, and technical assistance directed by a company that specialized in hospital record-keeping. Employee training programs were also required for a healthcare system that administers 41 medical facilities and employs more than 50,000 workers.
When such changes are made, problems are inevitably encountered in the implementation and care is required to prevent the loss or confusion of medical records and employee contacts. Consequently, it became the job of specially trained IT workers to monitor this process and prevent information loss.
The whistleblower in this case is Patricia Moleski, one of those IT workers. The medical institution involved is Adventist Health System. It is generally identified as the largest Protestant healthcare provider in America with headquarters in Orlando, Florida.
Moleski’s story, as it has come to Adventist Today, is told in the video interview below. Adventist Today continues to pursue this story and will publish future reports as more is learned.