Friday, May 19, 2017

---Work on the complex project began almost a decade ago, back in 2008.------------The health ministry now says it hopes to release it to the public sometime during the 2018-19 fiscal year. The government has issued a request for proposals to find a vendor who can optimize the tool for cellphone users. It’s unclear how much this will cost. To date, $34.3 million has been spent on the project.-------------The already long-delayed digital platform was expected to be released some time this spring, but will now be pushed back at least another year — largely because the government failed to make the system receptive to mobile devices.

It is troubling that the online patient portal is still not ready to be accessed despite the fact that the PCs and the NDP folks have spent $34.3 million dollars to date and more anticipated for this access to our own records.
The question I have is why didn't the folks at Alberta Health simply provide us with access through Netcare? Why build a separate system for patients? It seems that when they build one system that this one system--Netcare could have been developed for the purposes of both the health care professionals and the patients but nope--this isn't the way government works. We have Netcare that cost us major bucks. And we have the patient access portal that is continuing to cost us major bucks.
The Auditor General of Alberta needs to audit this project show as to determine the value for the money spent. In my opinion such major costs for a minor project of this nature indicates cost overruns because of poor project management and the Auditor General needs to find out who is responsible for this poor performance.

Albertans will be waiting at least until next year for the province to complete work on a secure online portal that will give patients access to their lab results, prescription…

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Alberta Health plans delayed again for online patient portal

Published on: May 16, 2017 | Last Updated: May 16, 2017 8:06 PM MDT
Health Minister Sarah Hoffman
A statement from Health Minister Sarah Hoffman's ministry Tuesday said a secure online portal with information for patients won't be released to the public until it is ready for mobile use. DAVID BLOOM / POSTMEDIA
Albertans will be waiting at least until next year for the province to complete work on a secure online portal that will give patients access to their lab results, prescription records and other health information.
The already long-delayed digital platform was expected to be released some time this spring, but will now be pushed back at least another year — largely because the government failed to make the system receptive to mobile devices.
Health Minister Sarah Hoffman intervened earlier this year to halt the portal’s rollout until more “compatibility” and “functionality” could be added, the ministry said in a written statement Tuesday.
“The minister has been clear that the platform needs to be ready for mobile use before it is released to all Albertans,” said the statement, which blamed the oversight on the former Progressive Conservative government that was defeated two years ago.
“It does appear that the former government did not anticipate how critical mobile compatibility would be in 2017, and how users expect tools like this to work the same as other applications they have on their phones.”
Work on the complex project began almost a decade ago, back in 2008.
By 2011, the province was ready to launch the first phase of the website, which offered general information on thousands of health-related topics.
The health minister at the time, Gene Zwozdesky, promised that by 2014-15, the site would be bolstered with a number of new features — including a secure online portal where patients could view their blood-test results, X-ray scans and other health information similar to what their doctors would see in the Netcare system.
However, by early 2015 it was clear the project was behind schedule. Ministry officials said then they were aiming to have the system completed for the public by the end of that year.
Further delays ensued following the defeat of the Tories, with the new NDP government first promising to have the platform rolled out in the spring of 2016, then the spring of 2017.
The health ministry now says it hopes to release it to the public sometime during the 2018-19 fiscal year. The government has issued a request for proposals to find a vendor who can optimize the tool for cellphone users. It’s unclear how much this will cost.
To date, $34.3 million has been spent on the project.
Around 1,200 Albertans, including many with chronic diseases such as diabetes, have been granted early access to the system over the past few years to help test it. The ministry said it expects to expand the list of participants this summer and fall “to do more testing with specific groups of users.”
For those with access, the portal currently offers a patient’s medication history and it can upload data from Windows-enabled medical devices that record blood pressure and other conditions. Within a couple of months, the plan is to have the system provide results from 53 common lab tests.
Additional features will be added over time, the ministry statement said.
The portal is a key plank in the province’s strategy to reform the health system in a way that makes patients larger participants in their care decisions.
The slow progress of the patient information portal was raised Tuesday by NDP MLA Bob Turner, who questioned Alberta Health officials during a meeting of the legislature’s public accounts committee.
“That patient information actually belongs to the patient. I have many constituents who are basically asking me why they can’t get at it,” Turner said.
“You’re right, it has taken us a while,” replied Kim Wieringa, the assistant deputy minister for health information systems. “We absolutely want to have information in their fingertips so patients are coming to their care providers informed and sharing decisions. There is a lot going on but we have every confidence that when we do release it to the general public, it will be of value.”
She said one of most complex challenges with the system is ensuring patient privacy is protected.

Julie Ali · 

I believe this project indicates a lack of good project management at the GOA.

We need to have an audit done to find out why this project has taken almost ten years and is still not complete.
We also need an audit to find out where the money went. Was this money spent on GOA employees and they sat around discussing the project for ten years? Who is responsible for the poor results we are seeing here?

In my opinion, there needs to be stronger oversight by the executive / department heads in charge of such projects-- that is not present in Alberta Health as well as a clearly defined decision making tree. Why was this project identified as being necessary? Who made the decision that this project was more important than other projects? Why did this project drag on for years? Why did no one put the brakes on the project when it was taking too long? Who is responsible for managing costs? What was the original estimated cost for this project and how much more have we paid? And where is the auditor general of Alberta in this mess?

We are now told that there will be additional costs beyond the $34.3 million that has already been spent. Where is this money coming from? And why are we even bothering to add functionality when we're in debt? It's irresponsible use of our tax dollars. The increased functionality can wait until we're out of debt.
LikeReplyJust now
Jasmin Legue · 
Works at Retired

Glen, Paula both of your comments are inappropriate. I would prefer Alberta Health make sure my personal info is secure before they launch the portal; especially with this last cyber attack.
LikeReply7May 17, 2017 8:03am
Shane Halfyard
Pay attention to the OS their computers are running... if they avoided wannacry I would be surprised.
LikeReplyMay 17, 2017 11:10am
Jeremy Windibank
Get rid of the health minister. I have been by her office in Edmonton numerous times to discuss Healthcare matters and no one answers the door or the phone. Sarah Hoffman needs to be let go and shifted out of the Heathcare portfolio.
Jude Hislop · 

If the PC's started it in 2008 and didn't finish it before elections in 2015, that's 7 years, and they didn't think to make it compatible with cellphones!!! So now, 2 years in office, the NDP should take all the blame? stupid is that?
LikeReply1May 18, 2017 9:10am
Cindy Nylander
At what point will this government defend its policies and actions on their own merits instead of blaming the former government. If you can't defend them on their own merit maybe you need to revisit your plans
UnlikeReply8May 17, 2017 9:13am
Joshua Thomas · 

Well the previous PC government apparently didn't realize 75% of web browsing is on mobile and failed to make the system compatible as such. So yeah, I'm happy that the NDP actually realize the future is reality and are waiting for mobile functionality. Fixing PC mistakes one step at a time.
LikeReply4May 17, 2017 10:10am
Cindy Nylander
Joshua Thomas like I said for how long?
LikeReplyMay 17, 2017 2:37pm
Pierre Jacques
Until it is no longer!! Who knows how long!? 44 yrs is a lot of time to do a lot of things wrong! Takes a long time to fix!
LikeReplyMay 17, 2017 7:54pm
Dan Belisle · 

No, it doesn't . See the errors, make list, get your resources sorted out. Start the process. Make it trackable, make sure everyone you're responsible too sees the issues and understands what you're doing. You only get a small window of "look it's their fault". If you're hired to fix it, that's how it's done.
LikeReply1May 17, 2017 8:48pm
Jude Hislop · 

Dan Belisle PC's didn't finish it in 7 years and didn't think to make it accessible to mobile devices with those 7 years. Now you're expecting them to fix it just like that? Poof! Ala kazam! How familiar are you with websites and information access? Not much I suspect.
LikeReplyMay 18, 2017 9:12am
Julie Ali · 

Joshua Thomas The cost of this project over almost a decade seems excessive. Also the project was managed by both the PCs and the NDPs. So the blame for this poor outcome rests with both political parties.

In my opinion, there needs to be an audit done to find out why we spent $34.3 million dollars on a project that seems very minor in terms of its requirements.

I believe the government of Alberta needs to improve its decision making tree. Why was this project even selected? It's not a high priority one. There are other projects that deserve funding rather than this one and yet we have had government resources dedicated to providing us access to results we can obtain from our family doctors. It's ridiculous.
LikeReply11 mins
Ryan Nehring
It's always someone else's fault when you're a socialist.....
LikeReply9May 17, 2017 10:28am
Bob Banks
No. It's the truth.
LikeReply3May 17, 2017 11:50am
Harvey Bishop
Ryan Nehring It is the Alberta PCs fault, after Peter Lougheed left office. They were very corrupt disasters and virtually depleted Alberta's finances from multitudes of very costly scandals and neglect. So? What are you going to do about it?
LikeReply3May 17, 2017 1:05pm
Julie Ali · 

Harvey Bishop I believe that the NDP folks are pretty similar to the PCs we just evicted from power. Why else are we loaning our cash to the oil and gas industry to ramp up their orphan well program? Surely we don't also need to put the $30 million that the federal government has given Alberta for economic stimulation to pay for the interest charges on this loan as well? Why can't the NDP folks so some balls and get big oil to pay for its own liabilities?
You speak about the "very corrupt disasters" of the PCs. What about the equally distressing decision making of the NDPCs?
LikeReply9 mins
Dwayne Bamber · 
Works at Self-Employed

Still blaming the "former government "? I think the current government should focus on the people that haven't looked at the spec's in two years.
LikeReply9May 17, 2017 8:19am
Harvey Bishop
Fixing the major problems caused by 30 years of immense Alberta PC government neglect in 2 years isn't easy.
LikeReply2May 17, 2017 12:56pmEdited
Julie Ali · 

Harvey Bishop It's quite easy. All you do is terminate folks who aren't doing their jobs. If the NDPCs won't do it, we will hire the Wildrose folks to fix the messes.
LikeReply8 minsEdited
Alex M Scott
I think the solution lies in hiring more civil servants. How many so far in 2 years?
LikeReply2May 17, 2017 10:01am
Heather Lawrence · 

😂😂 I agree!
LikeReplyMay 17, 2017 11:43am
Harvey Bishop
Alex M Scott How many civil servants and expensive bureaucrats did the Alberta PCs hire? Gave the executives hefty severance packages for doing hardly any work.
LikeReply3May 17, 2017 12:59pm
Wendy Rudiger · 

Love those health Ministers the PC'S had that lined their own pockets (Hello Fred Horne), the Director of the WCB Board who WAS making $900,000.00/year (and the board all had taxpayer funded private golf course memberships ) NDP knocked his salary back to $400,000.00 comparable to positions in other Provinces. PC'S wasted and gave away to buddies Corps more money than this government will ever spend.
LikeReply2May 17, 2017 6:16pmEdited
Bruce Carter
Blame the former government for everything ... too much of society is so stupid and believe the NDP idiots.
Nigel Bennett · 

They need to do blaming everyone else for their issues
Andrea Garnier Spongberg
BC has had this for years. Omg. Get with the times Alberta!!
Glenn Jones
When will the Health Monister look into the obesity problem in our province?
Ajay Juice · 

she has to look at it in her fridge first XD
LikeReplyMay 17, 2017 2:31pm
Bob Banks
Yet idiots out there want these clowns back in power. Scary.
LikeReply1May 17, 2017 11:50am
Daniel Dumont
LikeReply3May 17, 2017 9:00am
Bob Banks
Better than these two clowns.
LikeReply3May 17, 2017 11:51am
Harvey Bishop
Daniel Dumont Iris Evans and Dave Hancock had weight issues and were obese. They were ministers of Health in the Alberta PC cabinet. Did you say anything about their weight issues? Look at how they helped make a big mess of health care in Alberta.
LikeReply2May 17, 2017 12:54pm
San Za
😂 having her as a health minister shows just how pathetically ignorant this ndp government is.
LikeReplyMay 17, 2017 2:56pm
Wendy Rudiger · 

Better Morbidly Obese than Morbidly Stupid..... more brains and class than San Za and Daniel Dumont. Might I recommend a referral to a Proctologist for each of you?
LikeReply1May 17, 2017 6:21pm
Paula Lorenz
she knows all about it already,she s morbidly obese
Chuck Keil
Paula Lorenz, your comment advances the discussion on the portal and the mobilty issue how?
LikeReply5May 17, 2017 6:52amEdited
Shannon Burge · 

It doesn't but it's a good way to know who's not above cheap shots.
LikeReply1May 17, 2017 11:08am
Harvey Bishop
Paula Lorenz And Iris Evans and Dave Hancock didn't have obesity problems? You probably said nothing. The Alberta PCs gave you a $400 bribe cheque. That's why.
LikeReply1May 17, 2017 1:01pm
Wendy Rudiger · 

Paula Lorenz. Better than being Morbidly Stupid.
LikeReply1May 17, 2017 6:18pm
Hunno Bunjeman
Hey, sewer Hoffman again, she's held in high regard eh
Jerry Steele · 

The GONG SHOW continues.
UnlikeReply1May 17, 2017 8:56pm
Julie Ali · 

Probably the most apt comment here.
LikeReply7 mins

Frankly I am shocked by the waste of cash involved in this project.
First of all I don't know why the GOA did not simply make the Netcare project accessible to both professionals and the public thereby saving us $34.3 million and more.
Second I don't know why the GOA managers in charge of this project aren't being questioned for the poor project management that ensured that this project would be delivered in time with the required functionalities built in from the start rather than being added on at the end of the project with cost overruns.
Third, I can't imagine why security issues would be a problem at the end of the project unless of course there was a lack of consistent reliable project development and management at the GOA.
It's all a mess.

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