Software bug mixes patient health data
iSoft stands by product after mix-up at Gisborne Hospital
By Randal Jackson, Wellington | Wednesday, 28 April, 2010
A system bug in an iSoft application used at Gisborne Hospital resulted in one patient’s details being displayed as those of another.
The incident led to extensive remedial work on the iSoft product involved.
The hospital says the error was detected early in March. Computerworld had been told by a health source, however, that the bug, in an iSoft system called Healthview, had gone undetected for two years.
“Investigation and notification to iSoft showed the error to be a system error within the Healthviews product and affecting most sites using Healthviews. All sites have been advised and have carried out their own checking processes,” the hospital says in a statement.
“Remedial work was commenced by iSoft, who released an initial ‘fix’, which prevented the display of the mismatched information and thus the ability for any clinical decisions to be taken on incorrect information.
“A search of historical records by iSoft identified all instances of occurrence relating to laboratory tests, and the records and lab test results were pulled for analysis by clinical staff under direction of the chief medical officer.”
The hospital describes the incident as an extremely rare event in relation to the total amount of test reporting done.
“Laboratory investigations are only one part of the clinical assessment, diagnosis and treatment of patients. It would be rare to rely on a single result in coming to a decision about care,” it says.
“Tairawhiti District Health has identified all instances for radiology results and is following up as per the laboratory results.”
The hospital notes that both radiology and laboratory test reviews to date, there have been no cases of harm occurring to patients from the mismatches.
“ISoft have subsequently advised that the final ‘fix’ for the problem has been created and is under testing. It will be incorporated into the next release of Healthviews (version 9) and they are requesting all district health boards to upgrade to this version as soon as possible.”
ISoft, which is Australasia’s biggest health technology company, says in a statement to Computerworld that it has nothing further to add and that it stands by its product. The company has a presence at 21 district health boards.