Island Health remains committed to a new Island-wide paperless diagnosis and treatment recording and patient tracking system being implemented first at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital

Island Health maintains controversial paperless system safe, working as planned

Officials say technical support for new electronic record system will continue at Nanaimo hospital until doctors and nurses are up to speed

A controversial new electronic record-keeping system at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital continues to be implemented, and is safe and working as planned according to Island Health.

Despite a report doctors in the emergency room and intensive care unit had stopped using the $178-million iHealth system May 25, all information continues to be input and recorded using that system, Island Health vice-president of communications Toni O’Keeffe told the News Bulletin in an email.

“The iHealth system is working as it should, and NRGH, including the emergency department, has not gone back to paper,” O’Keeffe said. “All orders are still being input into iHealth electronically. To assist some doctors in adapting to the technology, we have provided support  from clinical staff that are entering the orders for doctors. This support is available 24 /7.”

Since its introduction in Nanaimo and Parksville March 19 as a test run for future implementation Island-wide, iHealth has been criticized for slowing diagnosis and treatment speeds as health practitioners struggle to adjust. Island Health has chalked the difficulties up to an expected learning curve but some insiders have privately indicated some problems may be the fault of the system itself.

O’Keeffe, however, said the system is working as intended and there have been no incidents or harm related to wrong information or wrong dosages. On the contrary, she said, it is preventing that from happening.

“Across the country, thousands of medication mistakes are made daily due to human error, and this system is designed to catch them. (It) will produce a warning when an order is entered, for example, if the dosage is too high for a patient’s weight, if the drug is not appropriate for a particular disease or if there’s a drug conflict.

“The system will and already is improving the quality and safety of care. The challenges we have had are related to work flow. It takes time for users to become proficient in the use of system like this.”

She acknowledged the documentation has been particularly challenging in the busy emergency department.

Dr. Drew Digney, emergency and trauma site chief for Nanaimo, did not respond to an interview request. Nanaimo area doctors were expected to meet this week to discuss the situation and debate what action they may need to take, if any.

O’Keefe said Island Health will continue to work side-by-side with employees, make modifications where necessary, and provide additional technical support until staff is comfortable with the technology.

“We recognize that this change has been a challenge for some providers while other providers have had no problems adjusting to the new system,” she said. “Implementing a system transformation of this scope is difficult and we have always known that once implementation began we would need to make modifications along the way.

“The system is safe and it is doing what it is intended to do.”

Follow me on Twitter @JohnMcKinleyBP

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Forest industry supporters and convoy arrive at B.C. legislature

Rally delivers petition in favour of ‘working forests’

Port McNeill council tackles the issue of AirBnBs

Council wants a public hearing to identify options for short-term rentals in Port McNeill.

Port McNeill council roundup: Feb. 11 meeting

Various stories from Port McNeill council’s Feb. 11 meeting.

Forestry workers vote for new agreement, ending 8-month strike on Vancouver Island

Wage increases, higher premiums and contract language part of new agreement

REVIEW: Poetry helps Conshinz heal from brain trauma

The Book of 1000 Poems, Volumes 1-4, by Conshinz, a.k.a. Port Alice… Continue reading

Protesters barricade Premier John Horgan’s home ahead of B.C. budget unveiling

Demonstrators from the Extinction Rebellion have blocked the Langford driveway

Budget 2020: B.C. adds tax to sweet drinks and sodas

All soda, vending machine drinks will be subject to higher PST

Budget 2020: B.C. unveils new grant for students, phases out debt-relief program

For the first time, diploma, certificate students qualify for yearly post-secondary grant

2020 Budget: ICBC shortfall continues ahead of new rate-reduction plan

ICBC operating with $91-million deficit for 2019-2020 fiscal year

Budget 2020: B.C. NDP taps top tax bracket for more revenue

Minimum wage set to pass $15 an hour by 2021

Budget 2020: Not much new for B.C.’s struggling forest industry

Focus on wood waste utilization, efficiency, ministry budget cut

Skull reconstruction gives new insight into unknown man found in B.C. cemetery

RCMP released a 3-D skull reconstruction of a man who was found dead on July 2, 1998

Ten poisoned eagles rushed to veterinary hospital in Nanaimo

Eagles stricken after eating flesh of euthanized animal at Nanaimo Regional Landfill

Trudeau says Wet’suwet’en crisis, rail blockades a critical moment for country

First Nations leaders suggest it may be time to peacefully end the blockades

Most Read