MUHC clinical platform crashes, patient appointments cancelled

Click to play video: 'Montreal hospital scrambling to access patient records after software update crashes system'
Montreal hospital scrambling to access patient records after software update crashes system
WATCH: The McGill University Health Centre is struggling to access patients’ electronic files. This after its clinical platform crashed following a software update, sending care providers into a scramble. Global’s Gloria Henriquez reports on how the glitch has impacted patient care. – Nov 9, 2023

The McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) is cancelling medical appointments as it struggles to access patients’ electronic files.

The hospital’s clinical platform, Oacis, crashed following a software update this weekend, sending care providers into a scramble.

As a result, the MUHC says that they are prioritizing patient care, so they are cancelling and rescheduling non-urgent appointments.

“Oacis is our clinical platform online on computer where we have all the information about patients, their vital statistics, their demographics, their lab work, their MRI results, X-Rays, they’re all on Oacis,” said Jennie Rhee, an ICU nurse at the Montreal Children’s Hospital and union president. “Without that, it’s very difficult to provide care.”

In a memo obtained by Global News, the hospital directed staff to reduce medical exam requests and tend only to the sickest patients, until the matter is resolved.

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“We have to prioritize, the sickest get seen first and there are a lot of sick people today unfortunately,” Rhee said.

Health-care providers have to fill out paper work to request exams, write down results, a patients’ vitals and lab work for example, creating a higher workload.

“We have to go back to our old paper system, the doctors have to request it manually, it’s really rough right now,” Rhee explained.

Wendy Sherry, a nurse clinician for Organ & Tissue Donation at the MUHC says the outage makes it challenging for doctors especially.

“It’s mostly slowing down of everything, slowing down to get results, slowing down to get access to the exams cause everything is done by paper,” Sherry said.

It also means they can’t readily look up vital information.

“Already our system is suffering so much, so this is not helping at all,” Sherry said.

In a statement, the MUHC told Global News they are working around the clock to fix the issue.

“We are sensitive to the impact this situation might have on our patients and are working diligently to reinstate the system as soon as possible. If a patient’s appointment is cancelled, they will be called in order to reschedule,” wrote MUHC spokesperson Christine Bouthillier in an email.

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In a memo sent to staff, the hospital said they can’t estimate when they will be fully functional again.

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