A motivational quote serves as the backdrop as medical information specialist Shannon Cragg demonstrates the use of the iHealth system at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.

Island Health CEO says suspending iHealth not the solution

Dr. Brendan Carr acknowledges issues, says adding resources and working with doctors is the best way to ensure patient safety

The head of Island Health is fully aware of the issues at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital and determined to see them resolved.

He’s just doesn’t think temporarily suspending use of the controversial iHealth paperless record-keeping system is the right way to go about that.

In the wake of a non-confidence vote in the system delivered Wednesday by Nanaimo’s medical staff association, Dr. Brendan Carr said the resolution lies in giving staff the resources they need while working together to find solutions.

“It’s not that we don’t agree there are real concerns,” he said. “We don’t think what the doctors are proposing will fix that.”

Carr said a wide range of evidence supports the principle that electronic systems are safer for patients than paper systems. Further research shows that hybrid systems are even worse. That is why Island Health is determined to make iHealth work.

A thorough review by a group of Island Health medical professionals conducted at the request of Nanaimo doctors found iHealth to be working as designed. Carr is not sure why the anecdotal experiences of many doctors does not reflect those findings. He said the additional pressures created by the iHealth learning curve may have revealed flaws in existing resources, structures and processes at NRGH.

“We need to understand it better. We plan to do that working with our physicians. They will largely be developing the plan of action,” he said. “Some of the issues have arisen because of iHealth, but iHealth isn’t the cause.”

Carr acknowledged that implementation has reduced the amount of patients some doctors can see in a fixed period of time. While they have been able to avoid cancelled surgeries, some disciplines involving complex medications have seen a reduction of up to 30 per cent.

Island Health has ordered immediate steps to be taken to address staff fatigue and mistrust of the system. The primary goal is to pinpoint the biggest areas of concern, identify potential solutions and provide the resources needed to address them. Boosting staffing levels is one option under consideration.

He said he is not opposed to bringing a third party in to review the situation, but thinks the situation can be addressed more effectively in-house. He disagreed with the suggestion pride is getting in the way of a solution, saying this is not Island Health versus Nanaimo doctors; it’s about one team working toward a common goal.

“I’m not sure where that is coming from. If anything is driving us it is our passion to do the best we can for our patients,” he said. “Working together is going to be more fruitful.”

Carr said everyone involved always knew this would be a difficult process and it’s just a matter of overcoming the obstacles. Less-capable staffs than Nanaimo’s have made similar transitions and that gives him faith that will also happen here.

“I am absolutely confident. My confidence comes from my confidence in the staff at Nanaimo.

“(The public) should know that for everybody working at Island Health, patient safety is our primary concern.”

Follow me on Twitter @JohnMcKinleyBP

Just Posted

Free firework safety courses coming to the West Shore right before Halloween

No permit? You could be fined anywhere between $100 and $10,000

Fairfield-Gonzales residents aim to establish senior care phone line

The Fairfield-Gonzales Village would allow seniors living alone to have a direct line to resources

Vendors open doors to new futures at Black Press Extreme Education & Career Fair

More tham two dozen employers, educators signed on for Victoria event

Persons Day to be marked with literary readings in Sidney

Peninsula authors to read from their new books relating to women and courageous journeys, Oct. 18

Antimatter 2019: The best in experimental media art comes to Victoria

22nd annual festival of film, performance art and more biggest ever – 120 artists, 30 countries

VIDEO: Greater Victoria, here’s the news you missed this weekend

Dog killed in alleged hit and run, Goodlife Marathon takes over city and more

‘Save the kids!’ Dorian survivor tells the harrowing story of his Canadian wife’s death

Family held a funeral and placed Alishia Liolli’s remains in a niche at a cemetery in Windsor, Ont.

Okanagan woman, 91, votes at advance polls despite broken hip, shoulder and wrist

Angela Maynard has voted in almost every election during her lifetime

Heiltsuk Nation open first Big House in 120 years in northern B.C.

Opening means the community now has an appropriate space for spiritual and ceremonial events

Singh says NDP would form coalition with the Liberals to stop Tories

Singh was in a Liberal-held riding Sunday afternoon in Surrey where he was pressed about his post-election intentions

‘My heart goes out to the mother’: B.C. dad reacts to stabbing death of Ontario boy

Carson Crimeni, who was also 14, was bullied relentlessly, his dad says

The one with the ‘Friends’ photoshoot: Kelowna group recreates TV show intro

A friend’s departure prompted them to create something that really says, “I’ll be there for you”

Canadian Snowbirds plane crashes before air show in Atlanta

Pilot lands safely after ejecting from jet

Share crash data, private insurers tell David Eby, ICBC

B.C. monopoly makes drivers retrieve their own records

Most Read