Wednesday, December 07, 2016
It Seems Major Government Health IT Projects Can Do Little But Disappoint.
This time we have a Canadian story.
There are many reports on this issue:
First we have:
Auditor General annual report critical of program to switch to electronic health records
December 1, 2016 by: Sudbury.com Staff
Ontario’s health-care sector spent more than $8 billion between 2002/03 and 2015/16 on various electronic health records projects and related initiatives, but significant components are still not operational, Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk said in her 2016 Annual Report.
The government had committed in 2008 to providing an electronic health records for every Ontarian by 2015.
“The initiative has certainly advanced since our last audit in 2009,” Lysyk said Wednesday after tabling her report in the Legislature. “However, it is still not possible to say if it is on budget because the government never set an overall budget for it. In effect, we cannot say if $8 billion is a reasonable figure.”
Although an overall strategy or budget is lacking, the province did create a formal $1.06-billion budget in 2010 (which also covered prior periods) for completion of some electronic health records projects under the responsibility of eHealth Ontario. This budget excluded eHealth Ontario’s annual corporate administration expenses.
An electronic health record is a digital lifetime record of an individual’s health and health-care history, updated in real-time and securely available to authorized health-care professionals.
There is also coverage here:
By Shawn Jeffords, Political Bureau Chief
More than $8 billion and 14 years later and Ontario still doesn’t have a working electronic health records system.
That according to Ontario’s Auditor General who tabled her annual report Wednesday. In it, she notes that “significant components” of the system are still not working in 2016 after a government pledge seven years ago to have electronic health records for every Ontarian by 2015.
“The initiative has certainly advanced since our last audit in 2009,” Lysyk said in a news release. “However, it is still not possible to say if it is on budget because the government never set an overall budget for it. In effect, we cannot say if the $8 billion is a reasonable figure.”
Last we have broader coverage here:
Examples include cracked highways, overspending on eHealth records, shoddy Metrolinx oversight of contractors, and a climate change plan that will do more in California than Ontario.
Wed., Nov. 30, 2016
Crumbling highways, shoddy transit contractors, $8 billion spent on still-incomplete eHealth electronic medical records, and a climate change plan that will do more in California than Ontario.
Those are some of a litany of government snafus exposed by auditor general Bonnie Lysyk in her annual two-volume, 1,063-page report to the legislature on Wednesday.
The independent watchdog said a common theme throughout her 13 value-for-money audits was government contractors and suppliers screwing up yet still being rewarded with additional business.
“They probably receive more chances than you and I would give them if they were renovating our house,” said Lysyk.
Her audit of eHealth Ontario found the controversial agency’s work remained unfinished some 14 years after the computerized health records program was formally launched.
“The initiative has certainly advanced since our last audit in 2009. However it is still not possible to say if it is on budget because the government never set an overall budget,” she said.
“In effect, we cannot say if $8 billion is a reasonable figure.”
That amount includes $3 billion spent by eHealth, $1 billion by the Ministry of Health and agencies like Cancer Care Ontario, and $4 billion by hospitals, community care access centres and other clinics across the province.
As first disclosed by the Star on Oct. 13, the government was so worried about Lysyk’s audit that it scrambled former TD Bank CEO Ed Clark, Premier Kathleen Wynne’s business guru, to recommend improvements.
In a 48-page report last week, Clark said while eHealth provides $900 million in annual health-care benefits to Ontarians, its mandate should be sharpened so it has “an explicit focus on technology service delivery and to ensure the agency is held to account for delivery” of those services.
The agency has been dogged by problems, including an expense account scandal when private consultants earning $3,000 a day billed taxpayers for $3.99 Choco Bite cookies and $1.65 Tim Hortons tea.
Lysyk found the seven main eHealth projects that former premier Dalton McGuinty’s government deemed priorities in 2010 were only about 80 per cent done — despite a 2015 deadline for completion. Those are now expected to be finished by March.
Health Minister Eric Hoskins said he will soon unveil “the next steps of our digital health strategy that will continue modernizing our system, further improving patient access, connectivity and experience.”
Lots more here:
Here is the link to the relevant section of the report:
Reading the detailed report (which I have to say makes riveting reading) what struck me is that we all really need this Ontario Auditor General to spend three months or so to audit our national e-Health Program.
I think her views would be very useful!
Posted by Dr David G More MB PhD at Wednesday, December 07, 2016