Queensland Health chief’s secret concerns about hospitals digital upgrade revealed in recordings


June 13, 2019 05:55:54

As senior bureaucrats roll out the most important digital well being improve within the state’s historical past, a leaked recording reveals Queensland Well being director-general Michael Walsh admitting there are issues with the $1.5 billion program.

Key factors:

  • Queensland Well being chief Michael Walsh says he is been compelled to speak up the brand new system publicly
  • However he says the fact is the rollout has been “messy” with security considerations and delays
  • ABC Information has been advised elements of the digital software program have failed not less than twice in regional hospitals

The Built-in Digital Medical Document (ieMR) improve by US firm Cerner is being adopted throughout nearly all hospitals.

It’s going to combine nearly each affected person file to an internet system — together with real-time important indicators — from coronary heart charges to the quantity of medicine being administered.

However a recording obtained by ABC Information particulars talks between senior well being employees in April, with Mr Walsh saying considerations had delayed the rollout.

“Simply as a paper-based association in hospital is just not excellent, a digital platform is just not excellent,” he mentioned.

He admitted issues have been inflicting delays within the system’s rollout as a result of medical doctors have been anxious about its security.

“The issue that we now have, that at all times happens, is that I can go and have these discussions with clinicians — they usually’re actual discussions they usually’re actual points — and except individuals are assured concerning the security of what they’re doing, it [the rollout] would not occur.

“But it surely’s not an ideal world and folks know that they are doing work-arounds.”

Within the recording, a number of employees raised considerations with the director together with glitches with the software program, elevated prices to native hospital and well being providers, and that some employees have been so pressured they have been considering of leaving Queensland Well being.

‘It is delivering advantages and blah, blah, blah’

Mr Walsh was additionally recorded saying he had been compelled to talk positively of the improve in public.

“As quickly as you get exterior that atmosphere, you get in to the general public, you get compelled into this ‘black and white’,” he mentioned.

“Taking a message out to the world — it is not excellent, however individuals are working to make sure that it is secure for individuals, that is actually what’s taking place.

“So I usually get caught into having to talk extra positively publicly, since you get put right into a state of affairs of getting to say, ‘The system’s going to do that and the auditor-general mentioned that it is delivering advantages and blah, blah, blah’.

“And that is not the fact in our day-to-day — it is messy.

“If there are issues of safety, that is paramount and we do not do it.”

The State Authorities desires the system in nearly each public hospital inside the subsequent two years — however the director-general acknowledged the method was not going easily.

“Up till now, there have been, there are issues and points, all of which clinicians both say, ‘We’re not truly turning it on or usually are not doing it till we have got a manner of coping with it that we imagine is secure’,” he mentioned.

“And I’ll by no means put stress on anyone to really do this, so in two circumstances a ‘go dwell’ has been delayed.”

Hundreds of recent computer systems wanted for rollout

In the identical recording, one other senior bureaucrat defined that hundreds of recent computer systems — past what was budgeted — could be wanted to assist with the improve at a handful of hospitals.

“What we’re seeing is digital hardware is turning into frontline care,” she mentioned.

“That mindset is one thing that maybe we’re not used to but and I definitely discovered it arduous to just accept it and the price that goes with that.

“We made the choice this morning that we will have to switch 10,000 PCs in Metro North … so it’s, I believe, that form of gentle bulb second the place you go, ‘It is truly a part of frontline care’.

“After we are asking our groups to make use of them, we have to give them the perfect gear the identical manner I might provide the greatest forceps or the perfect steriliser.”

Final yr, Queensland’s auditor-general found the cost of the upgrade would blow out by a further $250 million.

Reviews of system failures in regional hospitals

Earlier this yr, the Australian Medical Association called on the State Government to halt the rollout as a result of senior clinicians believed there was a danger to affected person security.

The improve has already been put in at 13 main Queensland hospitals and partly adopted at three, with plans to attach the remaining 13 inside the subsequent two years.

Earlier this yr, Queensland Well being advised ABC Information the upgrades had to date “been a significant success”.

“Our precedence is affected person security and care and we’re assured this has not been compromised,” a spokesman mentioned.

A number of senior well being employees not too long ago advised ABC Information of considerations with how the brand new system is interacting with software program used to trace the administration of anaesthetic, often known as the SurgiNet Anaesthesia module.

ABC Information has been advised of not less than two events the place the software program has failed in regional hospitals, forcing senior employees to file particulars on paper.

A Queensland Well being spokeswoman mentioned it was now beneath investigation.

“Queensland Well being is conscious of performance and useability issues raised by employees in respect to the SurgiNet Anaesthesia module,” she mentioned.

“As with all scientific software program functions the affected person is the precedence.

“Sufferers are constantly monitored throughout an operation with their scientific information being recorded and accessible inside the affected person file — this has not modified with the introduction of the SurgiNet Anaesthesia software program.”

‘Really bettering the security of the system’

After being contacted by ABC Information concerning the contents of the recording, Mr Walsh mentioned the improve would supply higher well being outcomes.

“As we transfer from a paper-based system to a digital platform, we’re truly bettering the security of the system, we’re guaranteeing that data is obtainable to clinicians in a well timed style,” Mr Walsh mentioned.

“Transferring from a paper-based system to a digital system could be very difficult — individuals have to alter the best way that they work together with the file from handwriting to digital, they should combine that into their pathways of take care of sufferers to make sure that we enhance the security and supply higher outcomes.

“So describing that as difficult and messy is affordable, as a result of it is about guaranteeing that folks make these modifications and work together with their sufferers and transfer to a brand new system.

“What we all know is — and the Auditor Common has indicated — is that rolling out the digital platform is bettering affected person outcomes for individuals in Queensland.”

Cerner has additionally been contacted for remark.








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