IHealth will remain at Nanaimo hospital, changes needed: review

By Ian Holmes
November 17, 2016 - 5:19pm

NANAIMO — A third party report recommends keeping a controversial digital record-keeping system in place at Island Health.

The review on IHealth, undertaken by provincial patient and quality officer Dr. Doug Cochrane, makes 26 recommendations. The $174-million program was launched at three mid-island health facilities, including Nanaimo Hospital, in March. Those calls include improvements on how data is entered to protect patient safety.

Island Health chief executive officer Dr. Brendan Carr says the report shows they need to do a better job of consulting with their staff on the program in a more meaningful way.

“The report tells us that it didn't have the desired effect, we did not really engage people or engage them in a way that was really meaningful,” said Carr. “We need to change that going forward.”

An IHealth review was ordered in July following widespread concerns on its use. Physicians at Nanaimo Hospital worried about how the program impacted drug accuracy orders. The intention of the program is to document all health records of their patients and develop plans for on-going care, according to Carr.

Dr. Cochrane's report states that more complex health issues handled by the system need to be reviewed and improved. He notes that the program resulted in decreased productivity. Carr says other sites that have implemented programs similar to IHealth have been monitored.

“Changes in productivity can largely be overcome over a period of months by refining the tools and refining the way that those tools are incorporated into work loads,” he said.

Carr says all of the recommendations will be seriously considered and that they intend to eventually roll out IHealth at all of their 150 facilities.

Island Health will now collaborate with clinical and medical teams at Nanaimo Hospital to review and prioritize the recommendations, according to an Island Health release.

Carr fully acknowledges that implementing the new technology has been a bumpy road, but he's convinced digital health record-keeping is the way to go.

“As healthcare becomes more and more complex, as information is growing exponentially, we are beyond the capacity of the human brain to pull all of this information,” he said.

Besides Nanaimo Hospital, IHealth is also currently being used at the nearby Dufferin Place and Oceanside Health Centre in Parksville.



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