Board not yet releasing IT findings

The Southern District Health Board will not release preliminary findings about what caused this week's hospital IT crash for several weeks.

Dunedin North Labour MP David Clark yesterday called for greater transparency from the board about the cause of the outage.

The system went down about 1am on Monday and was not fully up and running until 2.30pm the next day. During that time, staff could not access electronic patient records and emails.

''[Board managers] seem to have been very careful to manage the media response around this process, and that suggests a level of defensiveness that does make you wonder whether there's something more to the picture,'' Dr Clark said.

IBM has furnished the board with preliminary reports into the outage, which the board earlier this week blamed on the failure of a piece of equipment similar to a router.

IBM New Zealand external relations manager Katherine Litten said the company was engaged to assist the board to restore the system, and declined to comment further.

Health board chief executive Carole Heatly said yesterday in a statement the board was undertaking a ''root cause analysis'' with support from the National Health IT Board in the Ministry of Health.

''We want to determine exactly what happened so we can ensure we can prevent this or similar from happening in the future and we will share our learnings with other organisations.

''We have some preliminary reports at this stage, which are being reviewed as part of this process.

''It will take several weeks before we complete this process. However, we are confident that we have addressed the immediate issues affecting the IT system.''

Communications executive director Steve Addison said the board would not release preliminary findings until the review process was completed.

The IT failure came less than a week after the board's admission that it lost more than 3800 mammograms last year, and in the midst of what the New Zealand Nurses Organisation has labelled a nursing staffing crisis.

- Labour MPs Clare Curran, Annette King and Dr Clark are holding a public meeting today about health services. It is at the Hunter Centre, Great King St, Dunedin, starting at noon.

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