Canadian physicians choose pen and paper over EHR during Cerner go-live

Vancouver Island Health Authority in British Columbia, Canada, is in the midst of rolling out Cerner's EHR across its system, but physicians are petitioning to suspend the go-live, citing concerns regarding patient safety, according to a Times Colonist report.

In 2013, Island Health signed a 10-year, $50 million deal with Cerner to implement the EHR across the system, which includes an additional $124 million for hardware and training. The EHR went live at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, a residential care center and another health center on March 19.

However, physicians in Nanaimo's intensive care units and emergency departments have reportedly returned to using pen and paper to submit orders, which are later entered into computers by support staff. Physicians who spoke to Times Colonist anonymously said the system is creating errors in drug orders, either canceling, overriding or changing instructions.

Other specialists at Nanaimo General are reportedly planning on also reverting to pen and paper orders, according to the report.

Physicians are circulating a petition asking Island Health to suspend further implementation until the EHR is fixed or replaced. So far, more than 100 physicians have signed the petition, according to the report.

Island Health plans to continue implementation across the system and expects to complete the go-live in the next 18 months after the system is "stabilized" at the initial three launch sites, Antoinette O'Keefe, a spokeswoman for Island Health, said in the report. "Our timeline has not changed," she said.

Island Health authorities have indicated there is no evidence the system is changing medication orders. The system has declined to suspend the rollout, according to the report. British Columbia Health MinisterTerryLake reportedly met with Island Health President Brendan Carr regarding staff and physician feedback and is confident patient safety is not at risk, according to the report.

In a statement to Times Colonist, Cerner said, "We understand this can be a difficult transition for some and we're collaborating with Island Health to optimize the physician workflow."

More articles on Cerner:

DOD's Cerner EHR go-live timeline 'not realistic,' audit finds 
29 hospitals, health systems seeking Cerner, MEDITECH, Epic talent 
Lake Health chooses Cerner for EHR implementation 


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