When will electronic health records be ready, asks NDP

By March 2013, the government had already spent $502 million on an electronic health records conversion project, but Saskatchewan still hasn’t launched the system to replace the paper health records.

“It’s shocking to me that this isn’t done yet,” said NDP Health critic Danielle Chartier. “This government owes Saskatchewan taxpayers an explanation. How much more has it spent on top of the half-billion dollars we know about and why isn’t this complete yet? When will this conversion be completed?”

On Tuesday, the government is planning to “celebrate” that some “core components” of the electronic health record (EHR) system are finally ready.

“This government is obviously much better at patting itself on the back than it is at delivering,” said Chartier. “The eHealth records system should be done by now, and we all deserve an honest answer to explain why it isn’t.”

The government created Crown corporation eHealth in 2010 to handle the conversion. Chartier said she has no doubt eHealth staff are doing their best, since the independent provincial auditor highlighted problems that come directly from the government hampering the process.

In a 2014 report, the auditor criticized the government for a number of concerns within the EHR program. The government didn’t have a multi-year operational plan for eHealth. It failed to allocate capital funding for information technology based on a provincial strategy to convert health facilities to electronic records. It failed to hand over to eHealth responsibility for maintaining some types of records. And, the Ministry of Health was giving health regions funding to build their own electronic health records systems which may not be compatible with the new eHealth system.

“Funding multiple records systems in multiple health regions while they’re supposed to be creating a single, provincial standard is obviously counter-productive, and a waste of taxpayer money,” said Chartier.

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For more information, contact:
Erin Morrison, NDP caucus