Bug in MetaVision ICU system potentially catastrophic

A bug in the MetaVision intensive care software package being rolled out in several Brisbane hospitals has been identified as having the potential to seriously harm or even kill patients, several media outlets are reporting.

Fairfax's The Brisbane Times reported that a risk assessment by the Metro North Hospital and Health Service - which covers Brisbane's Prince Charles and Royal Brisbane and Women's (RBWH) hospitals - had found potentially catastrophic problems with prescription errors caused by the system that had a 60 to 90 per cent likelihood of causing a patient death.

MetaVision, from US vendor iMDsoft, is one of the few specialist critical care software packages on the market. It is able to capture information from medical devices and contains a full medical record specific to ICU patients.

It also contains medications management and decision support, and is able to interface with the complex IV infusion pumps used to administer medications to patients in intensive care.

The ABC reported that according to the risk assessment report, “monitoring of patient records by pharmacists has revealed several potentially serious prescription errors specifically caused by the system”.

"Large volume prescriptions and high acuity of patients overlayed [sic] with functional risks of the system increases the likelihood of a SAC 1 (serious harm or death) event.

"There is no record of robust regression or functional testing at vendor, Queensland Health corporate or facility level."

MetaVision has been rolled out in the ICUs at the Canberra and Calvary hospitals in the ACT, and at the Gold Coast, Prince Charles, Townsville, Rockhampton, Cairns and Logan hospitals in Queensland, where it has been installed for over a year.

It went live at Brisbane's Royal Children's in June, RBWH in September and at Princess Alexandra Hospital (PAH) just last week.

It is live at the Sydney Adventist Hospital and has also been chosen for a statewide roll-out in all ICUs in NSW.

iMDsoft issued a statement late on Monday saying that the problem was unique to the version implemented at Queensland Heath and does not affect any other installations in Australia.

"Late last week, certain clinicians from Queensland Heath highlighted potential risks as a result of prescribing with the MetaVision clinical information system," iMDsoft's director of marketing, Anne Belkin, said.

"iMDsoft is aware of this issue, and has already provided a solution to Queensland Heath. The software fix has been in testing at the site for several weeks and will be implemented in the near future.

"The risks highlighted by the report were originally identified during testing and, with close cooperation between iMDsoft and the clinicians at the Hospital and Health Service sites, a mitigation plan was immediately put into effect.

"The underlying risk is unique to the version implemented at Queensland Heath, and does not exist in any prior or subsequent releases for Australia. MetaVision is used at more than three hundred sites worldwide and is regulated by stringent international standards to ensure patient safety."

Brent Richards, director of intensive care at the Gold Coast Hospital and then chairman of Queensland's Statewide Intensive Care Clinical Network, told Pulse+IT last year that the system delivered improvements in workflow and safety.

“ICU is incredibly complex and can be quite hard to computerise, because we have a lot of data flow,” Dr Richards said. “You want to capture all of that data including the data from the equipment interfaces, which is transferred minutely in MetaVision.

“Giving drugs is a lot more complex because ICU patients frequently have numerous infusions, and there is frequent real-time management of infusions – titrating medication infusions is normal in ICU – and the system has got to be able to capture it.”

The Brisbane Times reported that concerns over the software were identified in the past month by the ICU directors at the PAH, Royal Children's and RBWH.

It said the system has been manually over-ridden with medical charts being reviewed daily by ICU specialists.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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