B.C. Health Minister says electronic health record system use will continue during review

NANAIMO – Island Health and the B.C. Ministry of Health have agreed to a third-party review of IHealth, currently used in Nanaimo.

Island Health’s new electronic record system will continue during a third-party review, according to B.C. Health Minister Terry Lake.

The B.C. Ministry of Health announced last week a joint agreement with Island Health to undertake a third-party review of IHealth, which will be led by Dr. Doug Cochrane, provincial safety and quality officer for B.C. and chairman of the B.C. Patient Safety and Quality Council.

The $178-million electronic health record system went online at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital and Dufferin Place March 19. Last week, there was a call for an expedited, external and independent review of the system by three New Democrat MLAs, including health critic for the Opposition Judy Darcy, as well as Dr. David Forrest, president of Nanaimo’s medical staff association, and Sheryl Armstrong, chairwoman of the Dufferin Place family council. Forrest claimed the system is difficult to use, inefficient and that there’s concern about patient safety.

The review will assess and make recommendations to address workflow and patient-care quality concerns identified, as well as the implementation of IHealth at NRGH, Oceanside Health Centre and Dufferin Place. It will also make recommendations on how to improve implementation of electronic health records at other Island Health sites.

A review was agreed to following a meeting that included Lake, Island Health CEO Brendan Carr and Nanaimo hospital physicians and staff on Wednesday. Lake said he met with the medical staff association, clinicians and other health care providers for close to two hours and afterwards it was clear to him someone needed to come in and give a good assessment. A written statement by Lake said he and Carr heard concerns expressed, but also support for the health record which is why they feel Cochrane’s work will be helpful in charting a path forward.

Lake confirmed IHealth will not be suspended during the review and said he understands Cochrane will be on site after the August long weekend.

“I don’t want to cause any more concern on the part of health-care providers, and Dr. Cochrane can come in while the system is working and see it in real time and make recommendations either immediately or short term or longterm once he’s had a chance to assess the situation,” he said.

Carr could not be reached for an interview, but in an e-mailed statement he said Island Health continues to work closely with the Ministry of Health, physicians and staff on the implementation of IHealth and fully supports the review.

“The outcomes of the review will allow us to assess the strengths of the system and identify areas that require refinement,” he said.

Forrest, with the medical staff association and a physician at the Nanaimo hospital, said the commitment to a review is viewed positively and they look forward to working collaboratively with Cochrane, the patient safety and quality council review process, Ministry of Health and Island Health to develop an electronic health record system that’s safe, efficient and improves care. The review process through the patient safety and quality council is at arm’s length, arguably not entirely independent, he said, but there’s recognition and trust the appropriate expertise will be brought in.

Forrest expressed concerns about documentation in the record system. He claims it is possible to alter physicians’ notes and that somebody might delete a paragraph accidentally or deliberately and there’s no ability to identify what exactly was done. He also said inefficiency of the work system increases workload.

“An internist who could see 15 consults in a 24-hour period can only see 10 because everything is taking so much longer, which means patients are getting reduced access to care,” he said.

The review is expected to be substantially complete by Sept. 30.

Just Posted

Nanaimo Fire Rescue crews on scene at a boat fire near the boat ramp at Long Lake on Sunday, June 20. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Boat burns up on Nanaimo’s Long Lake, man and child unhurt

Jet skiers attempt to put out fire by circling around to spray water on burning boat

Nanaimo Track and Field Club athletes are off to a fast start this season after no competition last season due to the pandemic. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo athletes back on track, starting with club competitions

Nanaimo Track and Field Club registration filled up

A conceptual rendering of a commercial plaza at 1130 Rocky Creek Road. (Town of Ladysmith image)
Commercial plaza in north end of Ladysmith passes public hearing

Councillors debate proposed land use at 1130 Rocky Creek Rd.

The Nanaimo sign at Maffeo Sutton Park could be hazardous for children, says letter writer. (News Bulletin file photo)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Nanaimo sign will cause falls

Children can’t resist climbing on sign, says letter writer

John A. Read, who was inspired to leave his former career to become a professional astronomy by the purchase of a $13 telescope, will give beginning astronomers key pointers on how to set up and get the best performance from their instruments at Nanaimo Astronomy Society’s meeting June 24. (Photo courtesy Jennifer Read)
Astrophysicist will talk about getting the most out of a telescope at Nanaimo astronomy meeting

John Read’s purchase of a $13 telescope led to a degree in astrophysics and a career in astronomy

Robin Dutton, left, and Peter Sinclair are taking their mountain bikes and travelling down trails in the Mount Benson area June 19 as part of a 24-hour fundraiser benefiting Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Full-day mountain bike fundraiser gives financial support for Nanaimo food bank

Event part of Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank’s Food 4 Summer campaign

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased on Vancouver Island

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Most Read