Health Minister Terry Lake issued the following statement today in response to the auditor general’s report on Panorama.
“We appreciate the opportunity the Office of the Auditor General gives us to review our projects.
“The Ministry of Health acknowledges that there have been significant challenges and lessons learned with Panorama. We agree with most of the recommendations in the report. Work has already begun to review our IT project and contract management practices so future projects are managed better.
“We also recognize the need for a collaborative leadership approach for large IT projects. This is included in our recently released Information Management and Information Technology strategic framework, which was developed to support and enable the health sector’s priorities.
“To effectively manage outbreaks and detect emerging disease threats, public health officials must be able to track data across the whole province. Panorama allows us to better protect the public, through information and tools we’ve never had before.
“Though it is not perfect, public health experts across Canada agree there is no other system that can provide the comprehensive solution that Panorama provides. With this in mind, we will not pursue alternative systems.
“To develop a Benefits Evaluation Report (infoway-inforoute.ca) of Panorama, more than 40 interviews were held with B.C. public health personnel that use the system. In general, these interviews tell us that Panorama is an improvement to the previous system. The Immunization Management and Family Health modules help users by providing standardized electronic records, which are easy to access and share.
“Public health personnel also report that having immediate, digital access to children’s immunization histories means only those who require vaccines receive them. As well, Panorama makes it easier to manage vaccine supplies, which reduces wastage and costs. The system also supported our response to Ebola and is helping to close the gap in First Nations health care. Many issues with the system have now been resolved and Panorama provides clear benefits.
“Recently in Ontario, Panorama was instrumental in containing a school measles outbreak, as public health staff could easily identify and follow up with non-immunized students. In Saskatchewan, Panorama means relevant client immunization information is available regardless of where a patient requires service. The system has allowed Quebec to consolidate 23 separate public health data sources.
“We will continue to work with our national partners on further improvements to the system. Two upgrades are underway which will support treatment and management of sexually transmitted infections and tuberculosis. More enhancements at the national level are planned for the future, such as mobile solutions and usability improvements. Planning to extend Panorama access to B.C. doctors is also underway.
“Panorama currently supports 82% of the Canadian population throughout Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Yukon and B.C. This public health information system provides a solid platform which will continue to evolve to meet the needs of British Columbians and Canadians for effective, efficient and responsive public health services.”