Auditor general finds Department of Health program to automate doctor office patient records failed to achieve intended outcomes23 February 2021
FREDERICTON (GNB) – The report released today by Auditor General Kim Adair-MacPherson includes a performance audit of New Brunswick’s Electronic Medical Records (EMR) program, a program intended to automate doctor office patient records. After eight years (2012-2019) and over $26 million invested, less than half of eligible doctors adopted the provincial system.
“The complex delivery structure, unsustainable business model, and oversight failure by the Department of Health were some of the reasons why the program failed,” Adair-MacPherson said.
In July of 2012, the Department of Health contracted the delivery of the Electronic Medical Record program to the New Brunswick Medical Society (NBMS). NBMS partnered with the consulting firm Accreon and formed a private company by the name of Velante Inc. to undertake implementation and operation of a single-vendor EMR program. The complex delivery structure was not in the best interest of New Brunswickers and weakened the department’s governance and oversight of the program. The department did not effectively monitor the EMR funding to mitigate risk to the taxpayer and ensure compliance with funding agreements.
The report found the department failed to intervene in 2015, when there were clear signs the program was in jeopardy but rather continued extending deadlines and providing more funding for four more years. The single-vendor approach was terminated in 2019, when the government moved to adopt an open (multi-vendor) market model.
The auditor general made seven recommendations to the Department of Health to address the weaknesses identified in the report in the areas of contract structure, program oversight and accountability for public funds.
The full report is available online.