A tool is being developed to help the Irish Health Service Executive compare patient diagnostic imaging records affected by a data problem.

Last Friday (August 4), the HSE announced an issue involving Ireland’s national radiology information system (RIS) – National Integrated Medical Imaging System (NIMIS) – a system which captures and stores radiology, cardiology and other diagnostic images electronically.

Patients may have to have scans carried out again as a result of a fault, which created potential errors in displaying the correct diagnostic reporting data in the records. At least 25,000 X-rays, MRIs, CTs and ultrasounds taken since 2011 have been affected by the error.

Richard Corbridge, who just announced his resignation as CIO of HSE, a decision he said he made well ahead of the data fault, told Digital Health News a tool is being created to allow them to compare each record; both what it should look like and what it will look like today.

The medical imaging solutions company McKesson Technology (also Change Healthcare) who implemented the system is developing the tool, which will be integrated into the RIS. There are currently 13 hospitals in Ireland using NIMIS.

“We will work with clinicians to go through each of the 25,000 records and make a clinical decision on whether we need to see the patient or not”, Corbridge said.  “From an IT point of view, the company is working on a solution that will allow us to keep both the wrong data and the right data for legal reasons.”

According to Corbridge, the suppliers of the system knew about the issue since January 2016 and delivered a patch to fix it in September 2016.

“The problem is, is that they forgot or misplaced the information in the release note that it fixed the problem”, Corbridge said.

“So, there are two issues here; One is that the healthcare system didn’t know there was a problem and two, it didn’t know it had been fixed either. The patch wasn’t applied in September 2016 because we didn’t know there was a clinical fix in it – there was no mention of any clinical data issues.”

Corbridge said the clinical engagement now is to look at the 25,0000 patient reports and ascertain what has happened.

“My current thinking is that patients could have been over treated. Clinical validation needs to take place over every single treatment that happened which can take months unfortunately.”

He said while it is a sad time to be leaving during this time, “it is also good to be giving into the process and making sure we get it fixed as soon as possible.”

McKesson recently announced the successful go-live of the thirtieth hospital in Ireland, MRH Portlaoise General Hospital, on NIMIS.