Health PEI advising the public of additional delayed referrals related to Electronic Medical Record

Health PEI is updating the public about two issues with Health PEI Electronic Medical Record (EMR) resulting in delayed referrals from primary care providers to a specialist. 

In November 2022, Health PEI became aware of an issue where referrals from primary care physicians were in some cases not being received by specialists outside the EMR system. The issue was due to the requirement to produce a PDF of a referral to outside physicians who were not on the EMR, which then had to be sent electronically to their fax machines. In some cases, the second step was not completed.

Health PEI and the EMR implementation team with the Department of Health and Wellness conducted a full review of 1,700 referrals. In total, 100 were found to have been impacted by this issue, some of which resulted in a delay in the patient receiving an appointment. 

A clinical review of these cases found that there was no clinical harm associated with the delays. All patients who were affected are receiving a letter disclosing the incident.

This month, an unrelated issue was discovered where 70 referrals for gastroenterology specialty services were sent to a physician who was not yet working in the system. Of these referrals, 15 were delayed in receiving an appointment. Six of these patients require an urgent appointment.

This issue was due to a technical error in the changeover of data from an older EMR to the new EMR, whereby a practitioner was partially onboarded to the system. As a result, referrals were misdirected to that account before it was fully active.

This issue occurred over several months, from July 2022 until May of this year.

All six urgent patients are receiving a call from Health PEI this week to directly disclose the referral delay and to confirm their appointment. They will be seen by the physician as soon as possible. 

All patients whose referrals were delayed will receive a letter from Health PEI disclosing the delay. 

“Health PEI will continue to work with the Department of Health and health care staff who use the system to identify any issues and address them as soon as possible,” said Andrew MacDougall, Executive Director, Community Health and Seniors Care and the Health PEI executive lead for the review. 

“Issues are common when new EMRs are implemented. As we complete the transition to new fully integrated system, we will continue to monitor for any problems. These bumps along the way are expected but must be mitigated as we move toward a fully integrated EMR system, which will greatly benefit the health care system on PEI,” he said.


Media Contact: 

Everton McLean
Chief Communications Officer, Health PEI

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