By Alan Murray and David Meyer
March 18, 2019

Good morning.

At Fortune, we believe in the power of technology to make the world a better place. But we also know that the best-intended technology can sometimes turn sour. That appears to be the case with electronic health records—a government-financed innovation that was supposed to improve health care, empower patients, and reduce costs. Instead, all too often, it is harming people, sometimes even killing them.

A months-long investigation by Fortune, in partnership with Kaiser Health News, found that the decade-long U.S. electronic health records effort—built with $36 billion in taxpayer dollars—created a clumsy and buggy patchwork of software that has caused untold hours of extra work for healthcare professionals and provided uncertain benefits for patients. Instead of streamlining the medical system, it has created a host of new, and largely unacknowledged, health risks. Our investigation documents alarming reports of patient deaths, serious injuries, and near misses—thousands of them—tied to software glitches, user errors, or other flaws.

No one would advocate returning to the world of a decade ago, when critical health records were scribbled illegibly by doctors and locked away in filing cabinets, inaccessible to an emergency room doctor in a patient’s moment of greatest need. But the story of electronic health records should serve as a cautionary tale for the era of big data. Even the most promising applications, if poorly designed and overburdened by regulatory requirements, can turn to disaster. You can read the full report here.

Separately, JPMorgan this morning will announce plans to give $350 million over five years to support global workforce training programs. CEO Jamie Dimon said the program will focus on removing “the stigma of a community college and career education” and support “opportunities to upskill or reskill workers.” As we’ve written before in this space, training for the future of work is one of the great challenges facing our generation. Good to see more businesses stepping up to address it.

More news below. I’ll be off the rest of the week, vacationing with family. David Meyer will be filling in here.

Alan Murray


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