Saint John IT company foresaw e-record system problems
One year ago ClinicServer executives warned Velante business model was flawed
Executives at Saint John information technology company ClinicServer say they are disappointed their warnings about New Brunswick's troubled electronic medical record (EMR) system have been proven right.
The New Brunswick Medical Society and the private IT firm Accreon set up a company called Velante to run the new software. Velante then contracted another company, New Zealand's Intrahealth, to build the system.
The program is now falling short of its targets.
A year ago, ClinicServer's chief financial officer Stephen Alexander warned the Velante business model was flawed.
"Whenever you see additional steps being put in that add complexity or increase the number of middle-men in the process, it probably increases cost," said Alexander.
Only 240 of 950 eligible doctors have signed up for Velante ahead of the March 31 deadline to receive government subsidies. According to Health Minister Ted Flemming, only 34 doctors are currently using it.
The cost of Velante's program — $8,000 per doctor — is one reason many are refusing to enroll. Other doctors are questioning who will control patient health data.
If doctors don't sign up in time for the deadline for subsidies, they will have to pay the full $24,000 amount themselves.
Velante 'on the right track' says society
Accreon CEO Martin Ferguson turned down a CBC request for an interview.
Medical Society CEO Anthony Knight says Accreon's involvement isn't to make money, but rather to develop expertise it can sell to others.
"This is something that could be exported anywhere in the United States, in the rest of Canada or other parts of the world," said Knight.
"That's the real value to our partner."
The society says Velante is on the right track. The system is the only one allowed to interact seamlessly with provincial hospital data.
Many doctors have complained they want to be able to use other record systems.
Last month Flemming said if low enrolment in the e-record system remains a problem for the society, the province may end up taking over the software.