Report: Vancouver Island's Cerner rollout was mismanaged, should not expand without solutions

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A third-party investigation commissioned by British Columbia, Canada, Minister of Health for Vancouver-Kingsway Adrian Dix concluded the Cerner EHR rollout at British Columbia-based Vancouver Island Health Authority should be temporarily halted, according to the Times Colonist.

Here are five things to know about the controversial EHR implementation.

1. Mr. Dix commissioned the independent review by professional-services firm Ernst & Young in late 2017, following several physicians' protests regarding the EHR. Island Health initially signed a 10-year, $50 million contract for the systemwide EHR with Cerner in 2013. Shortly after the EHR, dubbed IHealth, went live March 2016 at Nanaimo (British Columbia) Regional Hospital, physicians reverted to using paper to complete orders, claiming Cerner's EHR system lost, buried or changed orders for drugs and diagnostic tests.

2. Ernst & Young noted in its investigation the IHealth project was over budget, costing at least $54.1 million more than the $173.5 million in funding the health system initially received. Ernst & Young also argued the project had been mismanaged by Island Health, with officials opting to implement the EHR system at Nanaimo Regional Hospital before the hospital staff was adequately trained.

"I would describe the review as highly critical, even quite devastating, of how the system was implemented here in Nanaimo and has been implemented on Vancouver Island," Mr. Dix said, according to the Times Colonist.

3. The Ernst & Young report found less than half of staff and physicians surveyed at Nanaimo Regional Hospital indicated it would be possible to work with other stakeholders to make IHealth a successful program.

4. The Ernst & Young report specified the EHR project should not expand its rollout across the health system until officials address various implementation issues. These issues include investigating patient safety concerns, reviewing governance structure for the project, developing a new funding model and assessing appropriate training for clinicians who use the software, according to the Times Colonist.

5. To address this recommendation, Mr. Dix said he would appoint a mediator for the remaining systemwide rollout, who will take on leadership of the project. Island Health officials, who previously led the project, would instead be consulted alongside other stakeholders.

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