Island Health, province agree to third-party review of IHealth

NANAIMO – Island Health's new electronic record system will be under review by he provincial patient safety and quality officer for B.C.

Dr. Doug Cochrane has been chosen to lead a review of IHealth electronic records system at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.

Dr. Doug Cochrane has been chosen to lead a review of IHealth electronic records system at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.

A third-party review of Island Health’s new electronic record system will be undertaken by the provincial patient safety and quality officer for B.C., the province announced today.

The B.C. Ministry of Health issued a press release Thursday afternoon, saying it has agreed with Island Health to do a third-party review, 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 move comes on the heels of a press conference last week, which called for an independent and external review of IHealth, held by three New Democrat MLAs, including Judy Darcy health critic for the opposition, Dr. David Forrest, president of Nanaimo’s medical staff association, and Sheryl Armstrong, chairwoman of Dufferin Place family council.

According to a press release, the review was agreed to following a meeting Wednesday that included Health Minister Terry Lake, Island Health CEO Brendan Carr and a number of Nanaimo Regional General Hospital physicians and staff.

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

“All sides agree that electronic health records are a vital part of a modern patient-centre health-care system,” said Lake. “This review is to acknowledge and address the concerns that have been raised, with the goal of ensuring safe, quality care for patients.”

The $178-million record system rolled out in March. The review, which could include recommendations for immediate, short-term and long-term actions and strategies, is expected to be substantially complete by Sept. 30, the release says.

“We undertook this massive change in clinical practice understanding it would take significant ongoing efforts to improve and stabilize the system,” said Carr. “We remain committed to ensuring electronic health records support the highest-quality and safest patient care possible.”