PCEHR: an Irish joke?

by Charles Wright on July 4, 2012

The PCEHR might have thrown up an important lesson for software engineers: at all costs, make sure you have at least one Irish person on the development team. An O’Donnell, perhaps, or an O’Brien.

I think that’s the real point of today’s story in Medical Observer, headed “Punctuation a stumbling block for e-health”. And of course, it took an O’Brien to uncover it.

According to Mark O’Brien, “Medical Observer has found patients with apostrophes or hyphens in their name cannot register for an e-health record, as the government scrambles to get the rest of the patient registration process working.”

He reports, “When MO attempted to use the telephone registration system yesterday the operator said an apostrophe in the surname to be registered could not be entered into the system, and that all names with special characters would require an update of the system before they could be entered.”

It seems extraordinary to me. Could the existence of punctuation marks in surnames have been completely overlooked? Anyway, I’ve sought a response from DoHA’s media unit.


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