Hospital computer firm insists - we did our job

Princess Margaret Hospital. Photo: Shawn Hanna/Tribune staff

Princess Margaret Hospital. Photo: Shawn Hanna/Tribune staff


Tribune Business Editor


The US company selected to deliver the “crashed” $18m Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) contract yesterday appeared confused about its client’s identity as it defended its performance.

Allscripts, the Nasdaq-listed provider of healthcare software and information technology solutions, referred to the “Public Housing Authority” - not the Public Hospitals Authority - in asserting that it had “fully complied at all times” with the contract’s provisions.

It also pledged that it “stands ready to complete the implementation” once it receives the word from the government and PHA, even though Dr Duane Sands, minister of health, this week indicated they were “moving forward” in a different direction to obtain an Integrated Healthcare Management System (iHMS) for the public health system.”

An Allscripts spokesperson, responding to Tribune Business inquiries over the contract controversy, merely said: “Allscripts has at all times complied fully with the terms of the contract we executed with the Bahamian Ministry of Health and the Public Housing (Hospitals) Authority.

“Allscripts stands ready to complete the implementation of our best-in-class solutions, which are used by many of the leading health systems across the world and will enable caregivers to improve outcomes across The Bahamas.”

Some observers may argue that the reference to a “Public Housing Authority” perfectly sums up the controversy surrounding a contract that was intended to totally transform healthcare delivery in The Bahamas through the use of electronic records that followed patients wherever they went to access services.

This would have given providers instant access to a person’s health history, enabling them to better and more quickly diagnose any cause of distress, and thus provide an improved quality of care and treatment options for Bahamians.

The system was also designed to improve patient billing and cut revenue leakages, thereby helping the Princess Margaret Hospital to reduce the $88m gap between its income and annual operating expenses.

Dr Sands, though, told Tribune Business earlier this week that Bahamian taxpayers had spent $7-$8m on a venture that had to-date delivered zero value for patients, with not a single line of coding to be found anywhere on the PHA’s computers.

“Suffice it to say that the roll-out of this project more than stalled; it’s crashed,” Dr Sands conceded to Tribune Business, “and the PHA has been attempting to find a way to manage its affairs because this was an essential component of modernisation.

“This would have brought the health system into the 21st century and allow us to function in a data-driven manner. It would also go a very long way to structure proper billing, revenue enhancement and clinical care. Having a patient’s records, a lot of the challenges - the current hassles, the delays with care now - could be avoided.”

He continued: “As a matter of fact, it is likely going to be a matter that comes to legal action. Let’s just say that many years later, and many millions of dollars later, we have no functioning integrated healthcare management system.

“There was tremendous anticipation about the benefits that this process, this agreement would bring to the health system. Despite the millions of dollars invested we are still using a pretty much manual health records system, and there is very little tie-in with laboratory or imaging or pharmacy or any of the business billing information with any particular patient’s record, and so it’s been a bust.”


ThisIsOurs 3 years, 2 months ago

"Alscripts, the Nasdaq-listed provider of healthcare software and information technology solutions, referred to the “Public HOUSING Authority"


In fairness though it's hard to tell, what they're trying to implement is a massive undertaking...lots of quality considerations, security and privacy, unless someone lays out the deliverables and milestones it's hard to judge. Getting a grasp on the existing system alone could take more than a year, documenting that effort and reviewing it would add even more time


shonkai 3 years, 2 months ago

With an information system so complex (requirement detail, planning, privacy, security, migration, ....) it is a huge undertaking to even collect (all) the requirements. If a vendor has a system that comes close to what you want it then becomes a matter of "What of the organization will you integrate into the system, and what from the system will you integrate into the organization". If the balance is to the first, then there will be higher cost to the tailoring of the system. If the balance leans to the second you will mostly get resistance from the people that will eventually work with it, usually causing implementation to fail if it leans to far.


Islandboy242242 3 years, 2 months ago

So did anyone reach out to Allscripts other than the Tribune? :) Maybe the govt should ask them to outline the work they've spent to earn $8 million? Or have we been blindly paying licensing costs for something we aren't even using?


buddah17 3 years, 2 months ago

I think that this company has had some "troubles" in The U.S. as well. Doesn't seem to be too reliable....


banker 3 years, 2 months ago

We've been duped again. Allscripts paid $145 million dollar fine by one of their subsidiaries for a kickbacks scheme and certification irregularities. A review of their software shows that it is old software written for much earlier versions of windows. It has been described as clunky and not very useful, and in consumer reviews has more one-star than five-star ratings. The system is not worth $18 million. Once again, we need tech oversight in the government by a CIO or Chief Information Officer in the government. We keep getting ripped off with systems that are old, dysfunctional, do not talk to each other, and purchased by who-you-know and pay-to-play.


John 3 years, 2 months ago

So did Dr Sands say somewhere that he is already in talks with a new vendor and to purchase a new system? Add up the millions this country is losing with these kinds of agreements/purchases and now you see why Bahamians are being taxed outta their assets and the country is not growing but the national debt is. Does this country have a reputation for dropping millions of dollars and walking away without getting even half value for dollar? And why do these software purchases cost so much millions when they become obsolete after a few years.


proudloudandfnm 3 years, 2 months ago

I actually can see a scenario where they did do the work but our government employees just can't figure out how to use it....

I sometimes wonder if the Bahamian government could be the most incompetent government on earth. Is it possible there could be worse?


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