UK, Australia EMR projects take it on the chin

The EMR-related news from overseas is not so good, as a system in Australia failed twice in four days, while a leading medical informaticist in the UK offered a sobering assessment of the National Programme for IT in England's National Health Service.

Citing lack of confidence in the system, emergency physicians at Nepean Hospital west of Sydney have gone back to paper after two EMR outages last week. "When the system failed again on Tuesday [May 5] it meant there were no records of what a patient was there for, no record of treatment so far, no record of tests ordered, no record of test results and no record about what medication may have been given," regional health official Jillian Skinner told StreetCorner, a local news service. Sydney West Area Health Service CEO Steven Boyages indicated that the problems could linger for a year and a half.

Meanwhile, outside London, Glyn Hayes, chairman of the Health Informatics Forum at the British Computer Society, told conservative politicians, clinicians and IT professionals that NHS may be attempting to do too much with its massive, England-wide health IT project. "There is no way they can get something off the shelf which will do it all. What has been done has taught all those lessons. I would just plead that the next administration remembers that all that has been learned. We should not try to find easy answers," Hayes reportedly said.

For details on the Nepean EMR failure:
- see this ABC News (Australia) story
- read this StreetCorner piece
- check out this post on the Health Care Renewal blog 

To learn more about Hayes' comments:
- start with this ComputerWeekly post