'Lost' radiology results weeks away

It could take Capital and Coast Health another five weeks to track down how 4700 radiology reports for Wellington region patients were 'lost' in the computer system earlier this year.

It could take Capital and Coast Health another five weeks to track down how 4700 radiology reports for Wellington region patients were “lost” in the computer system earlier this year.

A statement from the hospital’s clinical director, Dr Jean Murdoch, says in the vast majority of the 4700 cases the reports had been made and were in the electronic system somewhere, but appear not to have been properly linked to the master data for each patient.

However, 462 reports remained to be accounted for early last week, and may have been completely lost. This problem could have a variety of causes, from poor data entry to misprogramming, says hospital communications adviser Brett Sylvander.

Capital and Coast Health had still not uncovered the exact reason when Computerworld spoke to Sylvander last week. Last week it was estimated that it would take “another six weeks” to complete a review of CCH’s processes for reporting and storing radiology results. The data includes both image files and reports from X-rays, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and computer axial tomography (CAT) scans.

"Based on the results of the review to this point, patient risk is felt to be low,” the director’s statement says. "When our review is complete, a full report will be made to the board. “The review process [to date] has identified a number of reasons that contributed to this situation. We are continuing to investigate all aspects, including our system processes. However, now that we have identified this problem, processes have been put in place to ensure that any similar occurrences are identified and resolved promptly if they occur.”

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