Computer glitch hammers Quebec hospital

A computer bug is being named as the culprit in a failure to print out and send 14,541 radiology exam reports this year at the Centre hospitalier Pierre-Le Gardeur in Quebec, the Montreal-based newspaper The Gazette reported yesterday.

During the period in question, January 7 through December 17, the 280-bed hospital carried out 68,000 radiology exams. Normally, exam results are printed and sent to referring physicians. In approximately one in five cases, this failed to happen, according to the newspaper.

Hospital officials have divided the reports not sent into three categories: normal results; abnormal results that led to a follow-up by the referring physician after he or she contacted the hospital for the exam report; and abnormal results for which the hospital does not know whether a follow-up was ordered. A total of 579 patients are in the third category, according to the hospital.

The source of the computer bug has not been determined, but the hospital suspects it stems from a modification to the radiology department's information system.

According to The Gazette, the facility has launched a four-point plan to make sure all patients who have undergone radiology exams have been followed up by their doctors.

1. The hospital has implemented a manual system to ensure that every radiology report is printed and sent to referring clinicians.
2. The 14,541 radiology reports that did not get to referring physicians are being double-checked.
3. The hospital is giving priority to private-practice physicians to ensure that they are faxed exam results. All patients affected by the missing information are being contacted by the facility.
4. The hospital has set up a hotline for patients who have questions at 450-470-2653.

By staff writers
December 23, 2004

Copyright © 2004

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