Rollout of electronic medical record system in P.E.I. delayed again

·2 min read
Health P.E.I. CEO Dr. Michael Gardam said the rollout of the system has been paused. (Craig Chivers/CBC - image credit)
Health P.E.I. CEO Dr. Michael Gardam said the rollout of the system has been paused. (Craig Chivers/CBC - image credit)

The implementation of an Island-wide electronic medical record system in P.E.I. has hit another snag.

The province says it is pausing the rollout as it works with vendors to address issues brought up by physicians using the system.

The system allows physicians to share information such as diagnostic images, prescription history and other clinician notes with other health professionals.

The province promised at the tail end of 2019 it would be fully implemented within a year, but there have been numerous delays since then. About 100 physicians still need to be connected to the system.

No timeline

Dr. Michael Gardam, Health P.E.I.'s CEO, said the pause has been for "a couple of weeks." The province said there is no timeline for how long it will last.

"It's very important that we are receptive to the feedback than we get from the doctors," Gardam said.

"There are some things that need to be fixed. So rather than … continuing to roll out something that needs some tweaks, we're going to pause for a moment, fix those things and then start moving again."

Gardam said the issues revolve around "usability." The Medical Society of P.E.I. said it wants to see improvements to make it easier to find and share content and to enable clinics to customize the tool.

There are 118 physicians and 43 clinics in the province connected to the system. It's been in place at Island hospitals for over a decade.

'I think it's a failure to Islanders'

CBC News asked the Department of Health for an update on the price tag, but didn't hear back. However, in 2009, the auditor general's office pegged the cost at $33 million, and more has been spent since then.

P.E.I.'s Official Opposition said the issues should have been identified earlier on — and that the delays could impact the province's efforts to attract more health-care professionals.

"I think it's a failure to Islanders and it's a failure to our Island physicians, especially when it comes to recruitment," said Michele Beaton, the Green Party's Health critic.

"We know that this is something that is valuable to recruit physicians to come to P.E.I."

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