In early March, I blogged about a problem in the sharing of medical data between the US Veterans Administration's (VA) VistA electronic health record (EHR) system and the  Department of Defense's (DoD) AHLTA  EHR system.

The problem involved errors that occurred in the Bidirectional Health Information Exchange that allows clinicians in the VA and DoD to view health information in patient files. The error allowed information from one patient to be presented as it if it was from another.

Another intermittent bug was identified as well in which patient information properly displayed during one query session would disappear in another.

The VA had originally thought back in early March that it had understood and isolated the errors, and was confident that it would fix them in a few days.

Well, the fix took a bit longer than expected.

My friends over at Government Executive magazine, who broke the original story, a few days ago reported that the VA could not replicate the error in a test system, which forced the VA to take users of the exchange off-line, and instead require them to fax and e-mail patient data to one another.

Last Tuesday, the VA was finally able to replicate the errors and isolate them.

The Gov Exec article stated that VA CIO Roger Baker said the errors "resulted from switching from a single processor to a multiprocessor computer to manage the bidirectional system."

The VA now expects to have a fix in place sometime this month.

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Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

11 min read
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A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar
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You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

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