The province will engage an independent consultant to help review and enhance the electronic system that transfers patient diagnostic imaging and laboratory test results to clinics using electronic medical records, Health Minister Chris d’Entremont announced today, Oct. 4. The review comes after last week’s announcement of an error in the eResults system that caused a delay in the transfer of medical test results to patients’ electronic files. The error has since been corrected and all test results have been sent to doctors for review. Doctors are following up with patients, if necessary. “Patient safety remains our top priority. So far we’ve heard from 90 of 97 doctors, and the feedback has been very reassuring. Of the files they’ve reviewed, no patients were affected by this,” said Mr. d’Entremont. “However, we’re not taking any chances where patient safety is concerned. We are engaging a third party, independent consultant to do a full electronic medical records review and make sure the system is working properly.” Since the system error was identified, the province has been conducting a thorough review of eResults. To date, the error affected 32 clinics using the system. In total, test results for 1,028 patients from 94 doctors and three nurse practitioners were affected. “As we continue our rigorous review of the system, I’m told it’s quite normal that we may identify further test results that were affected by this error,” said Mr. d’Entremont. “We’ve been pleased with the electronic medical record system in Nova Scotia and the successful delivery of 99.6 per cent of test results. That said, we are concerned about the potential impact this error may have on patients, so we’re doing everything we can to improve system performance and ensure it’s working as close to perfect as possible.” The electronic medical record system is part of a larger health information management system strategy that allows a patient’s medical information from any clinic, hospital, or other medical service to be stored in one electronic health record.Implementation of the system began in the province in October 2005. The eResults system has been operating since August 2006. In that time, almost 294,000 test results were successfully delivered through the eResults system. The estimated cost for the independent electronic medical records review is about $50,000. If any patients are affected by this situation, they will be contacted by their doctor. For more information, call the Department of Health at 1-800-565-3611 or 424-5818.