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IBM under fire for QLD Health bungle

Government could seek damages for payroll implementation.

As reported by ITNews on June 30, 2010

The Queensland Government has issued IBM with a Show Cause Notice following a damning audit of its recent payroll system implementation.
The court order requires IBM to justify the continuation of its role as the prime contractor of Queensland Health’s SAP HR payroll system implementation.
Queensland Health also has reserved its legal right to withhold final payment of $3.3 million and seek damages for the project, which has been blamed for more than 35,000 payroll anomalies.
“We have sought Crown Law advice in relation to options for terminating the payroll contract with IBM and it’s only fair that we seek to reserve our legal rights,” Premier Anna Bligh said in a statement yesterday.
“The Government has issued IBM a Show Cause Notice as to why the contract should not be terminated.”
IBM was contracted in December 2007 to replace Queensland Health’s LATTICE payroll system by August 2008 for $6.19 million.
By the time the system went live in March this year, IBM had made 47 changes to the original specifications, and been paid $21 million.

Patients put at risk by software

As reported by the Sydney Morning HeraldMarch 7, 2011

THE computer system that runs emergency departments in NSW hospitals is compromising patients’ care, according to the first systematic review of the troubled project that found it was crippled by design flaws.

The FirstNet system allows treatment details and test results to be assigned inadvertently to the wrong patient, according to the review. It is based on a technical study of the software and interviews with directors of seven Sydney emergency departments.

The system is so compromised it should be scrapped, a specialist doctors’ group said yesterday.

Difficulties retrieving patient records could delay treatment, and the system – on which $115 million has been spent – automatically cancelled pathology and radiology requests if the person was transferred from the emergency department without checking whether these were still needed, according to the study by Jon Patrick, the director of the University of Sydney’s health information technology research laboratory.

Health department accused of censorship

As reported by the Sydney Morning HeraldNovember 28, 2009

THE University of Sydney removed from its website an extremely critical essay about a new multimillion-dollar emergency department IT system after pressure from the NSW Health Department. .

Doctors, nurses and administrators at four area health services heavily criticised the system – which tracks patients – as posing an ”unacceptably high risk” to patient safety because it was so slow, cumbersome and inefficient.

Some hospitals have boycotted Cerner FirstNet and reverted to paper to record clinical notes because it is too difficult and too time-consuming to retrieve critical patient information from the system, the essay said.

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”In a number of cases we know senior clinicians have shut down the use of FirstNet within a few days of it coming online,” it said.

This flies in the face of the recommendation last year from Peter Garling’s inquiry into public hospitals for full electronic medical records to improve efficiency and patient safety.

The report went on to say..

One doctor said: ”I prefer looking at a paper result than the counter-intuitive waste of my time trolling [sic] through the system.” Another said: ”Every single user *hates* it with a passion … ENTERING the data is a pure nightmare.”

Cerner FirstNet follows emergency patients and includes test results and statistics such as beds available. It is part of a massive three-year electronic records project due by June.

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