A Vancouver doctor has spoken out against a dysfunctional $258-million information-sharing system that is failing B.C. doctors.
“I have a patient who has a very serious heart condition and because of that he went to Eagle Ridge Hospital [in Port Moody],” said general practitioner Dr. Etela Neumann.
“Most of his records, if not all, are kept at St. Paul’s [in Vancouver], but because the [emergency room] physician had no access to them he ordered several tests that were already done a few weeks before and the patient was very frustrated.”
At the heart of Neumann’s complaint is B.C.’s physician electronic medical and health records system that has been under development since the mid-2000s and has so far cost $258 million.
On top of that cost is the Physician Information Technology Office, which has a budget of $108 million to roll out technology and support doctors using the doctor’s information-sharing system — dubbed EMR.
The Ministry of Health has acknowledged the implementation of the EMR system has been a costly challenge.
“Each health authority introduced computer systems and programs more than 10, 15 or even 20 years ago,” the ministry explained in a statement.
“These older systems were designed to improve service delivery in the local health authority and meet their business and patient needs at the time. The focus at the time was often not on sharing records or discharge information between the other health authorities.”