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Software glitch at hospitals caused patients to receive inaccurate test results

Technical problem known to have affected at least five medical centers, but it is unknown how long the problem went undetected

Illustrative: Medical staff at Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon handle a lab sample in March 2020 (Flash90)
Illustrative: Medical staff at Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon handle a lab sample in March 2020 (Flash90)

A system malfunction has caused patients to receive inaccurate test results in at least five hospitals, potentially endangering patients’ health.

Kan news first reported Thursday that an unknown malfunction in the system that connects hospital labs to patients’ medical records has led to wrong data reaching doctors.

Doctors in hospitals and health maintenance organizations have been warned of the problem and instructed to access patient test results through alternate avenues, the Health Ministry said.

Earlier this week in Ashkelon’s Barzilai Medical Center, the hospital’s microbiology laboratory head called an infant patient’s doctor to ensure the vulnerable patient got the correct treatment after testing positive for two bacterial infections, Kan reported.

Her caution was justified: the doctor, who had received incorrect test results, was just about to stop the medically necessary antibiotic treatment.

The incident was immediately reported to the Health Ministry. Health Ministry officials have as of yet been unable to determine how long this has been affecting the software and ultimately patients.

The ministry said it was working to rectify the problem.

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