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Island Health's IHealth Electronic Health Records System to Undergo Independent Review

  • Bulletin

BCNU members in Nanaimo working under Island Health's IHealth electronic health record (EHR) system will have an opportunity to provide input in a second review of its impacts on safety and quality of care, announced last week by Health Minister Adrian Dix.

The troubled initiative, piloted at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, Oceanside Health Centre and Dufferin Place since March 2016, is headed for a second, more comprehensive review to be conducted by the professional services firm Ernst & Young (EY).

EY is tasked with addressing persistent issues identified by doctors, nurses and other health care practitioners, as well as evaluating Island Health's progress on the 26 recommendations made by Dr. Doug Cochrane, Chair of BC's Patient Safety and Quality Council last year. 

BCNU made a submission to Dr. Cochrane, voicing nurses' concerns that when implementing EHR systems, additional staffing was necessary for a considerable period of time in order to ensure the safety of patient care.

BCNU welcomes this new, independent review so that issues identified by health care practitioners are fully addressed.

A BCNU survey of 396 impacted nurses in February/March 2017 found that 57 per cent of respondents didn't feel changes to the system happen quickly when problems are identified, 67 per cent felt the system takes time away from their patient care, and 54 per cent agreed that IHealth puts patient safety at risk. Efforts since the survey occurred have improved functionality on certain units but problems persist, particularly in Emergency.

BCNU members are invited to provide feedback to EY on the operation of IHealth and its impacts on the safety and quality of patient care. Details on how to participate will be forthcoming from Regional Chair Rachel Kimler and full-time steward Jonathan Salken, who are tasked with outreach to nurses.

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