Thursday, February 06, 2014

46,000 medical images wiped out in UMMC

KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 4, 2014): Some 46,000 electronic images of X-rays and scans of patients at University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) have been lost during a migration process from the old computer system to a new one.
As a result, some patients may be left in the lurch as their old medical information dating back to 2000 are unavailable.
The problem arose over the last two years when an American multi-national company, given the task of migrating a few million images of patients to the new system, lost the 46,000 images.
In an immediate reaction, the Health Ministry has asked UMMC to conduct an internal investigation to determine the cause of the computer foul-up.
However, UMMC director Professor Datuk Dr Ikram Shah Ismail said millions of images taken between 2000 and 2010 were safe and that the images lost were only a small fraction of the total.
He said the hospital is identifying other possible sources where the information could have been saved.
"It is very unfortunate that the problem arose as the back-up hard disc overworked and failed. The company had to copy the images in a temporary hard disc and then convert them to the new format. It was during this migration that we lost the images," he told theSun.
He said the images did not involve patients who came for the first time after 2010.
"Till today, we have not received any complaints from doctors or patients on the issue. I believe the doctors use recent or current images to do comparisons and treat patients."
Meanwhile, Deputy Director-General of Health (Medical) Datuk Dr Jeyaindran Sinnadurai said the loss is worrying as any form of electronic record- keeping must have sufficient safeguards to ensure a secure back-up.
The back-up, he said, was important to counter any form of hacking or records being accidentally deleted. He said medical records are vital for doctors to manage and treat their patients efficiently and effectively.
On the next course of action, he said UMMC should try its best to recover the lost images while conducting its internal investigation.
"This is important so as to give patients a valid explanation," he added.

No comments: