A motivational quote serves as the backdrop as medical information specialist Shannon Cragg demonstrates the use of the iHealth system at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.

Island Health CEO says suspending iHealth not the solution

Dr. Brendan Carr acknowledges issues, says adding resources and working with doctors is the best way to ensure patient safety

The head of Island Health is fully aware of the issues at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital and determined to see them resolved.

He’s just doesn’t think temporarily suspending use of the controversial iHealth paperless record-keeping system is the right way to go about that.

In the wake of a non-confidence vote in the system delivered Wednesday by Nanaimo’s medical staff association, Dr. Brendan Carr said the resolution lies in giving staff the resources they need while working together to find solutions.

“It’s not that we don’t agree there are real concerns,” he said. “We don’t think what the doctors are proposing will fix that.”

Carr said a wide range of evidence supports the principle that electronic systems are safer for patients than paper systems. Further research shows that hybrid systems are even worse. That is why Island Health is determined to make iHealth work.

A thorough review by a group of Island Health medical professionals conducted at the request of Nanaimo doctors found iHealth to be working as designed. Carr is not sure why the anecdotal experiences of many doctors does not reflect those findings. He said the additional pressures created by the iHealth learning curve may have revealed flaws in existing resources, structures and processes at NRGH.

“We need to understand it better. We plan to do that working with our physicians. They will largely be developing the plan of action,” he said. “Some of the issues have arisen because of iHealth, but iHealth isn’t the cause.”

Carr acknowledged that implementation has reduced the amount of patients some doctors can see in a fixed period of time. While they have been able to avoid cancelled surgeries, some disciplines involving complex medications have seen a reduction of up to 30 per cent.

Island Health has ordered immediate steps to be taken to address staff fatigue and mistrust of the system. The primary goal is to pinpoint the biggest areas of concern, identify potential solutions and provide the resources needed to address them. Boosting staffing levels is one option under consideration.

He said he is not opposed to bringing a third party in to review the situation, but thinks the situation can be addressed more effectively in-house. He disagreed with the suggestion pride is getting in the way of a solution, saying this is not Island Health versus Nanaimo doctors; it’s about one team working toward a common goal.

“I’m not sure where that is coming from. If anything is driving us it is our passion to do the best we can for our patients,” he said. “Working together is going to be more fruitful.”

Carr said everyone involved always knew this would be a difficult process and it’s just a matter of overcoming the obstacles. Less-capable staffs than Nanaimo’s have made similar transitions and that gives him faith that will also happen here.

“I am absolutely confident. My confidence comes from my confidence in the staff at Nanaimo.

“(The public) should know that for everybody working at Island Health, patient safety is our primary concern.”

Follow me on Twitter @JohnMcKinleyBP

Just Posted

Driver escapes from crash in Sidney

Town truck and another vehicle collide, causing van to roll over

Victoria Women’s March draws hundreds

Pink pussy hats aplenty as demonstrators took to downtown streets

FISHING ADVENTURES: Winter fishing season in full swing

Upcoming fishing events include Local Pub’s Salmon Superbowl Derby and Victoria Boat Show

GALLERY: Storm causes damage along the waterfront in Greater Victoria

Municipal crews are cleaning up Monday following Sunday’s high wind and waves

Sooke Riptide soccer team advances to Lisa Cup Finals

Riptide defeats Gorge in shootout on Saturday afternoon

Backyard of $2.2M Uplands property bulldozed for BMX jump track

34-year-old financial advisor fulfills childhood dream

Tofino and Ucluelet wowed by biggest waves in a decade

“Even in pictures you show the kids and that, unless you’re witnessing it live, it’s like no other.”

Police fear fewer fentanyl imports don’t signal the end of the overdose crisis

RCMP say it’s just as likely that criminal are getting more clever

UPDATE: Two people die in ATV accident south of Campbell River

Third person survived attempt to cross a creek

Coal dust escaping rail cars spurs B.C. petition

Local governments are on board with Shuswap resident’s request for better control of escaping particulate

Vikes women run to 6-0, win first rugby sevens tourney of season

UVic Vikes this week: Hoops teams host shoot for the cure

Lawyers slam ‘de facto expulsion’ of student guilty of sexual interference

Calgary student guilty of sexual assault of a minor allowed to finish semester

B.C. NDP set to restructure union bargaining

School trustees to regain control over employer group

New development in missing plane near Revelstoke

The family of Ashley Bourgeault believe they have found a new clue

Most Read