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British Columbia orders new review of troubled electronic health records system

Summary

Hospital and doctors in five-month stalemate

Newswire: September 15, 2017.

Dateline: Nainamo, B.C., Canada

The ongoing stalemate between a hospital system in British Columbia and doctors refusing to use its electronic heath records system has brought on a second government review, this one ordered by the province’s Minister of Health.

iHealth, the paperless records system for Nainamo Regional General Hospital on Victoria Island, launched in March 2016 and was to be fully implemented at all of the hospital’s facilities this year. That rollout was delayed when doctors alleged iHealth took time from patient care and created dangerous dosage errors in prescription orders.

Some doctors refused to use the system at all, going back to writing handwritten orders for medication and lab tests. Island Health, the hospital’s administrator, responded by refusing to accept these orders. Doctors then accused the hospital system of effectively suspending their practice without actually suspending them.

The emergency and intensive care departments at Nainamo General continue to use paper-based records to make lab and pharmacy orders.

“There’s been significant concerns about this system since 2016,” Adrian Dix, the B.C. Health Minister, told the Vancouver Sun. “We need to determine where we stand, what changes need to be made and have a clear understanding of what the costs are to completion of IHealth on Vancouver Island.”

The review, to be carried out by Ernst & Young, will assess whether iHealth is likely to achieve its intended benefits, as well as audit its financial status. About two thirds of its $127 million budget has been spent so far. The review will also examine what action has been taken since the first one ordered by the B.C. government last year.

That review expressed concern over the potential for errors and said the system should not expand to other facilities until they were resolved. Island Health said iHealth was too entrenched in use to be safely suspended.

Read the full story here.

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