Reported by Andrew Hanson
Originally posted as a news story in the online June edition of Adventist Today.
It is the carefully stated policy of healthcare institutions that every employee must document and report glitches in any system, care practice, or device that might adversely effect patient treatment.
Only when such an employee report is not welcomed and/or investigated by authorized authorities within the organization; only when such a report is suppressed at the highest administrative levels of the organization; only when the employee is threatened and/or fired in an attempt to keep that report from being made public, does that reporter become a potential whistleblower.
Whistleblowers, by definition, are branded as the enemies by the institutions they worked for. Institutions often use the threat of litigation and character assassination to silence whistleblowers. Their reasons for doing this involve money; reputation, personal or corporate; and/or unlawful behavior.
This is a story about a specific healthcare system and a specific whistleblower. The healthcare system she worked for was in a hurry to make the change from a an old inefficient record keeping system to 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.
Of course, this recordkeeping 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 recordkeeping. Employee training programs were also required for a healthcare system that administered 41 medical facilities and employed more than 50,000 workers.
When this change was made, problems were inevitably encountered in its implementation, and care was required to prevent the loss or confusion of medical records and employee contracts. Consequently, it became the job of specially trained information technologists to monitor this process and prevent information loss.
The whistleblower in this case is Patricia Moleski, one of those informational technologists. The name of the medical institution is Adventist Health.
Here is her story.
Welcome to the The Whistleblower and the Healthcare Corporation blog. To those of you reading about Patricia Moleski for the first time, welcome to a real-life David and Goliath drama. If you are someone who has been following this story from its beginning on the Adventist Today blog, here is the story that Adventist Today became so uncomfortable featuring that the final chapters of Patricia’s story have to be told here.
Like many stories, the context in which this one takes place is almost as important as the story itself. Consequently, the story that appeared on the Adventist Today blog has been referenced with a link for easy access to readers’ comments.