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 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

This male Dungeness can safely be harvested after passing muster. An official with Fisheries and Oceans Canada says it is not clear how well locals on the Saanich Peninsula are complying with crabbing regulations, but her comments suggest that any problems might be of a minor nature. (Department of Fisheries and Oceans/Submitted)
Sidney and Sooke record 57 crabbing violations in 2020

While recreational crab fishery has ‘compliance issues,’ no evidence of ‘large scale poaching’

Police seek information after a pedestrian was hit in a crosswalk at the intersection of Goldstream Avenue and Veterans Memorial Parkway on March 3.(Google Maps)
Witnesses sought in Langford pedestrian hit and run

Suspect is older man driving four-door, gold sedan

The University of Victoria has said some of its students were impacted by an off-campus exposure to COVID-19 last weekend. (Black Press Media file photo)
University of Victoria students impacted by off-campus COVID-19 exposure

UVic has not specified where the exposure occurred

Const. Mat Jones of the CRD Integrated Road Safety Unit joined a team of Saanich police officers and ICBC representatives cracking down on distracted driving at the McKenzie/Quadra intersection in Saanich on March 3. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
‘Leave the phone alone’: 40 distracted driving tickets issued in two hours at Saanich intersection

Saanich police, CRD Integrated Road Safety Unit crackdown on drivers’ cell-phone use

Cleanup happens after an overnight flood Monday damaged areas of the Oaklands Community Centre. (Facebook/Oaklands Community Association)
Greater Victorians offer flood of support to Oaklands Community Centre

Blown hot water tank Monday night leaves staff cleaning up soggy mess

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: How’s your butter?

Recent reports have some Canadians giving a second look to one of… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of March 2

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

The City of Duncan will implement a new pilot project targeting vandalism this spring. (File photo)
Graffiti trouble? Duncan will give you the brush and the paint to remove it

Initiative based on a successful project to protect Port Alberni from unwanted spray paint

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ B.C. housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

The first of Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s long-range maritime patrol aircraft—the Dash-8—becomes operational. (Photo supplied by PAL Aerospace)
Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s new De Havilland Dash-8-100 long-range surveillance air craft is capable of staying aloft for eight to 10 hours for a variety of missions up and down the B.C. coast. (Photo supplied by PAL Aerospace)
New plane will double DFO’s surveillance capacity in B.C.

The Dash-8 will fly out of Campbell River for enforcement, conservation missions

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

Most Read