A former nursing executive at Sonoma West Medical Center (SWMC) in Sebastopol, CA, says she was fired for raising concerns that the facility’s electronic medical record (EMR) was a threat to patient safety. The EMR was developed by one of the hospital’s board members.
The lawsuit says Autumn AndRa, RN, was serving as chief nursing officer (CNO) of the hospital when she approached CEO Ray Hino and said the EMR was unsafe.
AndRa was terminated from her CNO position April 14, 2016, and was offered a demotion to a position in the ICU, the lawsuit claims. She refused the position and left the hospital. She cited harassment.
In addition to the hospital, the lawsuit also names Dan Smith, the developer of the EMR software, called Harmoni, as a defendant. Smith “has engaged in retaliation against [AndRa] and other employees who have voiced concerns that Mr. Smith’s electronic medical records system, his self-dealing, and his management of medical and financial decisions are not in the best interests of SWMC and pose life-threatening risks to patient care,” the lawsuit says.
A key problem with the software is that it mixes up patients’ records, the lawsuit alleges. The lawsuit also alleges the EMR has difficulty tracking and updating patient medications, displaying patient code status information, and advising providers of patients’ desired medical interventions.
Smith is a significant financial supporter of the hospital. A 2015 report from The Press Democrat newspaper said Smith and his wife have contributed nearly $9 million to the hospital in donations and forgivable loans, and that he plays a role in “every major decision” regarding the hospital. Smith is on the hospital’s board of directors.