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Queensland Health’s history of software mishaps is proof of how hard e-health can be

Robert Merkel writes in The Conversation (7.11.19) that past upgrades to Queensland's medical record system have cost tremendous amounts of money, and on at least one occasion forced clinicians to revert to paper-based methods.

'A directive ordering Queensland Health staff to avoid upgrades to the state’s hospital electronic medical record system during parliamentary sitting weeks was recently reversed. After the email containing the directive was leaked, the state’s health minister Steven Miles revoked the directive. He said the timing of upgrades should be based on “what’s best for clinical care”.

'Queensland’s integrated electronic medical record system (ieMR) is designed to provide information about patients in the state’s health system. The ieMR was built by Cerner, a global provider of electronic medical record software. Like any IT project of this scale, it’s extensively customised for Queensland Health and individual hospitals.

'The directive to refrain from ieMR upgrades during sitting weeks seems to be connected to 38 system outages earlier this year. Most of these happened following upgrades performed by Cerner. On at least one occasion, upgrades didn’t go smoothly, and led to system outages that required clinicians to revert to paper-based methods.

'The rollout of the ieMR system to new hospitals, which began back in 2011, was put on hold earlier this year.'

 

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