Nova Scotia to fix medical-records
HALIFAX -- The Nova Scotia government is
spending $175,000 to improve the electronic system it uses to send
patient test results to doctors after some records went astray last
Health Minister Chris d’Entremont told the Halifax Chronicle Herald that
he accepts all of the recommendations in a consultant’s report on the
problem, which verified that a software error caused duplicate records,
or charts, to be issued for the same patient.
“Work has already started in implementing improvements,” said
Among other things, the report recommends improving monitoring
procedures and putting the system on a separate computer server by the
The problem affected about 1,000 patients and 98 doctors when it was
discovered last September.
The lab results and diagnostic test results that went astray were wide
ranging, including blood tests, skin swabs, X-rays, MRI results and CT
The province assured patients that no one suffered as a result of the
software error that caused the problem. The electronic record system is
part of a larger management network that allows a patient’s medical
information from any clinic, hospital, or other medical service to be
stored in one electronic health record.
About 32 percent of physicians in the province receive patient records
Problems with electronic medical records began occurring in January
2007. The Health Department only identified the computer problem on
Sept. 13, when a doctor telephoned officials.
All of the changes to the system will be completed by the end of 2009,
the government said in a news release.
“Errors sometimes happen in complex systems such as this one,” said
d’Entremont. “As a result of this review, tools and procedures are being
put in place to ensure any future errors are quickly identified and