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Software Upgrade could cost Chicago 4 Clinics – Software Issues with bills not being submitted reflects an adjusted budget

Posted Apr 09 2009 6:21pm

How important is software, enough to where 4 healthcare clinics are facing being closed as a result.  Cerner, a major healthcare software provider is image cited here as the program in place.  There is no perfect software solution to keep everyone happy, as seen in the news of late with the VA taking a beating as well with their issues.

This time it’s a commercial software company, but it is not always a “glitch” in the software either.  Proper and correct implementation is key and without proper training and working close with software vendors, things happen.  With so much information being integrated today and feeding many areas, one mistake travels miles, and so the the efforts to correct.  A good article written on the subject can be read here.

Get Ready for EHR Failures, But Don’t Blame the Software

With today’s standards too, their are audit trails to track back where the fault lies as well, so the general claim of saying it was just a “glitch” are gone as well.  We all know the effects today of short funds, layoffs and hospital closings so this incident could probably not have come at a worse time.   BD

Four years ago, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued a massive report titled Strategic Plan 2006-2011. Hoping to maximize dwindling resources, administrators laid out a detailed plan for how CDPH should reorganize internally to provide the best care possible to its patients. One of its stated goals was to establish streamlined, user-friendly administrative support structures." As reporter Alex Parker lays out in his blistering exclusive for the Chi-Town Daily News, a new billing system implemented by the city last year clearly didn't meet this objective.

Due to the resulting problems, four South Side mental health clinics had been scheduled for closure today.  Possibly as a result of Parker's reporting (as well as yesterday's sit-in ), Mayor Daley halted that plan at the very last minute this afternoon and stated his intention "to find out some of the issues there."

But as the CPDH implementation shows, their technology is flawed and wreaking havoc as a result.  Indeed, Chicago isn't the only government body having trouble with the company's software.  The head of the IT program for Britain's National Health Service (NHS) said in late 2007 that he was ashamed of the quality of some of the systems implemented by Cerner.

Of the 14,261 claims eventually submitted to the state, a whopping 95 percent were rejected for missing data. 

But while Cerner has plenty of room for improvement, CDPH is the one who deserves the blame in this case.

Meanwhile, Health Commissioner Dr. Terry Mason isn't the only city official who has recently overseen a botched technical transition.  The Sun-Times reported in late March that "stacked-up calls to Chicago's 911 emergency center are 'disappearing completely' from computer screens because of glitches in a $6 million upgrade to the dispatch system."

How A $16 Million "Upgrade" Could Cost Chicago Four Mental Health Clinics | Progress Illinois

Related Reading:

Government Accounting Office says DOD and VA need better strategic planning for EHR Interoperability

Electronic health record glitch at the VA repaired with Patch – Update

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