Thursday, November 17, 2016
The Bad News Just Seems To Drag On For ePAS and SA Health.
The news just seems to keep coming and none of it is all that good.
First we have:
A glitch in an electronic patient records system has thrown medical care into chaos at a number of South Australian hospitals including Adelaide's Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH).
A software error in the EPAS (Enterprise Patient Administration System) caused the system to slow down to the point it could no longer be used.
The failure lasted for about 10 hours, until it was restored early this morning.
The costly shift from paper records to an electronic system across the state's hospitals has been controversial at times, and so far has only taken place at the QEH, Noarlunga, Repatriation General Hospital and at Port Augusta.
During the overnight failure, one patient at Noarlunga was unable to receive pain medication.
SA Health's e-health director Bill le Blanc said the crash appeared to have been the result of a highly unusual error in a small part of the computer system.
He said in the three years since EPAS was introduced, this was the first time it had failed.
"We have one of the best health systems in the world," Mr le Blanc said.
The local paper also had coverage:
KATRINA STOKES, BRAD CROUCH, The Advertiser
November 8, 2016 10:13am
A 10-HOUR computer crash at an overcrowded Queen Elizabeth Hospital was a “dangerous, chaotic crisis” and potentially fatal for patients creating major problems for medical staff, the state’s peak doctors union says.
Both the Health Minister Jack Snelling and SA Health heads have assured South Australians patient safety was not put at risk during the ordeal, which meant hospital staff had limited or no access to patient records.
The EPAS (Enterprise Patient Administration System) crashed at 2pm on Monday after a software glitch and wasn’t restored until about midnight.
The State Government today claimed “contingency plans” were put in place that meant staff could access patient records on “extra computers spread throughout the hospital”, however both the state’s doctors and nurses union say this was not the case.
The controversial system, which is years overdue and the cost of which has blown out to $422m, has attracted widespread criticism, including by Coroner Mark Johns during his inquest into the death of former Socceroo Stephen Herczeg.
The government today also admitted the system was “running slow” at both the Noarlunga and Repat hospitals, a result of Monday’s glitch.
SA Salaried Medical Officers Association senior industrial officer Bernadette Mulholland said doctors told her “the place was dangerous, it was chaos and the beds were full and there was nowhere for the patients to go”.
“What our members are telling us is that this was a crisis,” Ms Mulholland said.
As a result of the problem, the hospital’s emergency department became “more and more crowded”, she said.
The explanation of the glitch was great:
By Paris Cowan on Nov 8, 2016 6:15PM
South Australia’s health department is investigating what caused a nine-hour outage to its notorious EPAS system across three major Adelaide hospitals on Monday night.
Between 3pm and midnight Adelaide time, the critical medical records system became unusable or completely unavailable at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, the Repat Hospital, and the Noarlunga Hospital. The three sites are the first to be hooked up to the electronic patient administration system (EPAS).
SA Health CIO Bill Le Blanc today apologised for the glitch, which he said was caused by a rogue piece of software that suddenly began to consume all the compute resources assigned to EPAS.
“Out of the many hundreds of software components that make up the system there was one small piece that had malfunctioned and it consumed the bulk of all the computer resources that sit behind the scenes," he said.
Just like you see in Windows every once in a while – and which can typically be aborted in Task Manager! It’s obviously harder in a big system I suppose.
Last the ABC has provided a summary of ePAS for those who came in late:
South Australia's Enterprise Patient Administration System (EPAS) is part of the State Government's ambitious plans to develop an electronic medical record that can be used in hospitals and other health services.
It stores a person's medical history and can be accessed by doctors, nurses and paramedics.
If a patient is prescribed a medication, has an allergy or has just been in hospital recently, that information is made available to health workers.
All Australian states and territories will eventually use electronic health records under a national agreement.
SA Health said EPAS would make it quicker and easier for staff to view a person's records, improve safety and outcomes when people go from one hospital to another, and reduce issues from paper records that might be hard to read because of poor handwriting.
A number of incompatible and outdated systems will be replaced and SA Health said patients would one day be able to view their records online.
Lots more here:
I hope this is the last time I need to mention this mess!
Posted by Dr David More MB PhD FACHI at Thursday, November 17, 2016