Friday, March 10, 2017

Well This Is An Unexpected IT Failure Causing Significant Health Concerns.

This appeared last week:

Surgeries in doubt due to computer bungle

February 28, 2017 8:00pm
HUNDREDS of operations across Victoria are at risk of cancellation or complication because hospitals have been left without the vital supplies needed for surgery.
Victoria’s Health Department is fighting to avert chaos, after a bungled computer ­ordering program at one of the largest medical suppliers left hospitals unable to order surgical instruments and other items for more than six weeks.
The situation has become so critical that several patients suffered “adverse outcomes” — including extended recovery times in hospital and needing additional pain medication — after surgeons used alternative products.
At least one op was recently cancelled because surgeons were left without the necessary supplies. The impact could become much wider if Sydney-based supplier Medtronics is not able to replenish the state’s surgical stocks.
With other states also struggling, Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy last week wrote to federal counterpart Greg Hunt warning of “major medical supply shortages”, saying the impact on patients was “increasingly concerning” and needed national assistance to be resolved.
Ms Hennessy told the ­Herald Sun she was hopeful ­ordering would return to normal in three weeks.
“I’ve made it clear to Medtronics that this is not acceptable, and have requested the federal Health Minister urgently intervene to ensure there is a co-ordinated response to this national shortage,” Ms Hennessy said.
Lots more here:
There was also coverage here:

IT glitch leaves hospitals without surgical supplies, patients at risk

Chloe Booker
Published: March 1, 2017 - 11:52AM
Hundreds of patients have been put at risk after Victorian hospitals were left without vital surgical supplies due to an IT glitch.
The hospitals were unable to order surgical instruments when the computer ordering program of one of Australia's largest medical suppliers, Medtronics, went down.
There were 7290 outstanding orders a fortnight ago, leading to shortfalls in surgical and laparoscopic instruments, respiratory products and sutures, skin staples and tissue adhesives.
At least one surgery was cancelled, while others patients were forced to have extended stays or take additional pain medication after alternative products were used.
The problem at the Sydney-based medical supplier has also left health services in other states with shortfalls.
Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy wrote to her federal counterpart Greg Hunt calling for a national approach to fix the situation.
More here:
The simple lesson in all this is that supply chains really matter – what does not seem to be mentioned is the cost in lost sales that this failure might have caused.
With Mr Trump apparently planning to up-end supply chains all over the world this incident may just be a harbinger of things to come!


Anonymous said...

This is extremely serious and of great concern. In the digital supply chain world surely the procurement criteria and ongoing checks and balances would ensure that any system failure is easily and quickly routed around and backup systems are in place. Government supply is a goldmine, There would be plenty of margin to ensure continuity of service.

Anonymous said...

Medtronics, it's called business continuity planning. Look it up.

Seriously, this shows how dependent you can be on systems that you have no control or visibility of. We've seen this happen with private radiology and pathology practices providing contracted services, and after a failure have only then discovered how poor business continuity planning in these practices is. As a result, contracts now contain clauses around visibility of business continuity plans as they relate to the provision of contracted services, including signed-off regular testing.