New IHealth probe ordered
VICTORIA Health Minister Adrian Dix is ordering a second independent review of an electronic health records system that created a stalemate between Island Health and the doctors refusing to use it.
The $174-million IHealth system was launched in March 2016 at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, Dufferin Place residential care centre in Nanaimo and Oceanside Health Centre in Parksville.
The system was scheduled to roll out to other Island health facilities this year, but was delayed after some doctors said it caused dangerous dosage errors and took time away from patient care.
Some refused to use it, reverting to handwritten orders for medications and lab tests.
“There’s been significant concerns about this system since 2016,” Dix said. “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 province has asked professional services firm Ernst & Young to complete the new review this fall and make recommendations.It will assess what action has been taken since the first review and confirm the challenges in using the system, as well as plans for improvement.
It will also review whether the system is likely to achieve the intended benefits, plus assess the financial status.
By July, $72 million of the $100 million budgeted had been spent, according to the provincial budget update released Monday. The project completion date has been extended to 2020 from 2017.
“We’ve spent a significant amount of money and we’re just in Nanaimo,” Dix said. “That’s one question I want to see answered: Where do we stand and how much will it cost to achieve what we need to achieve here?”
Dix said a budget for the new review will be determined in “coming days.”
IHealth will remain in use during the review.
Last year, the B.C. Liberal government asked Dr. Doug Cochrane, the province’s patient safety and quality officer, to conduct the first independent review of IHealth. Cochrane found potential for errors and said the system shouldn’t be introduced elsewhere until it is fully functional.