FAIL: A cancer survivor missed critical scans to monitor any recurrence of the disease because of shortcomings with a new electronic medical records system.
FAIL: A cancer survivor missed critical scans to monitor any recurrence of the disease because of shortcomings with a new electronic medical records system. John McCutcheon

Medical records system fails cancer survivor

A KAWANA cancer survivor has missed critical follow up scans meant to detect any re-occurrence of the disease because of the shortcomings of a new electronic medical records system at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital.

The woman, Julie De Bock, was initially treated for her condition at the public hospital cancer unit at Nambour Hospital.

However when the unit transferred to SCUH the lack of integration between the Nambour records system and that at Birtinya meant she fell off the radar.

The notifications of appointments for follow up scans she was meant to receive never came and it wasn't until her GP questioned her that the failure was identified.

Julie's husband Dick De Bock said the GP detected indicators of a re-occurrence that they then paid at considerable to be examined privately rather than face a public hospital waiting list.

He said the tests had proven inconclusive forcing them back to the public hospital system.

Mr De Bock said following the transfer of the cancer unit from Nambour to Birtinya it had not been able to access his wife's records without first logging out of one system and then into another.

Despite Mrs De Bock long medical history with the Sunshine Coast Health Service she has had to have her file restarted as a new entry.

Mr De Bock said teething problems were to be expected at a new hospital.

However he said integration of medical records should have been addressed.

Kawana MP Jarrod Bleijie agrees and wants the Premier to explain how the hospital could have been allowed to open without an integrated electronic medic al record.

He said in response to a Question on Notice he had put on March 1 this year as to why the issue had not been addressed, Health Minister Cameron Dick had said the $9m system would be in place.

Mr Bleijie said he has received complaints from several patients over recent weeks claiming the SCUH record system did not provide access to previous medical history.

This was despite integrated electronic medical record systems being in place in Cairns Hospital, Mackay Base Hospital, Royal Brisbane Women's Hospital, Lady Cilento Children's Hospital, Princess Alexandra Hospital and Townsville Hospital.

He described as absolutely absurd that the largest health infrastructure project in the southern hemisphere had been opened without the capacity folr patient files to be transferred and accessed seamlessly.

"If you've been a patient at another hospital and attend SCUH, clinicians and supporting staff are currently unable to securely access your medical record history," Mr Bleijie said.

"It is ridiculous that with the state-of-the-art facilities at SCUH, staff are made to use a paper-based medical record system that cannot be accessed by a single other hospital or health service."

In a general response sent to media, acting SCUH chief executive John Slaven said the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service successfully implemented an electronic medical record solution at Sunshine Coast University Hospital as planned and within the funding allocation provided with the start of patient services in March 2017.

He said the roll out followed the implementation of the same system at Nambour General Hospital in November 2016.

"SCHHS is working with Queensland Health to extend the electronic medical record to deliver direct data entry, electronic order entry, reporting, clinical decision support, device integration, closed loop medication management and other capabilities to further enhance patient care and safety," Mr Slaven said.

"Implementation of the state-wide integrated electronic Medical Record (ieMR) solution is being considered at Sunshine Coast University Hospital and Nambour General Hospital.

"We welcome feedback from our patients regarding their care. Patients can email with any feedback."