Computer-system rollout raises many questions

Re: “Nanaimo MDs offered extra pay to stick with software,” Oct. 28.

It is somewhat dispiriting for an old retired doc to follow the saga of the $178-million IHealth boondoggle, being promenaded down the catwalk by Island Health.

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No one consulted the acute-care front-line physicians and nurses for input as to how to best transition to a completely electronic medical record without drowning clinical attentiveness and expertise, in what has become a swamp of transcriptional correctness and drop-down menus.

All 12 warnings that came to us from North York Hospital, which had, in bitter necessity, greatly curtailed their use of the same Cerner system, were ignored by the more zealous cognoscenti in Victoria.

Time to ask some important questions. Why was Nanaimo chosen to roll out this white elephant? Where are the results and recommendations of the recent independent review? How many patients have suffered delay and disaster because of the rush to full implementation of an imperfect system? How much more will it cost, in cash and consequences? Where is the accountability for failure?

Such a dog and pony show. We would have never sacrificed the integrity of patient care on the altar of bureaucratic expediency in the old days. Some of us, transitioning from medical providers to recipients, still hold a warm nostalgia for a time when medical care made eye contact.

Dr. L. H. Winkler


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