400 patients receive mislabelled medicine after IT glitch affects 83 GP clinics

About 400 patients received mislabelled medication, after an IT glitch that hit the GPConnect computer system affected 83 general practice clinics on the network.

Run by the Integrated Health Information Systems (IHiS), GPConnect is government IT administrative network that lets general practitioners (GPs) submit patient data to the National Electronic Health Record (NEHR). About 150 clinics are presently on the system.

According to an IHiS spokesman, an IT glitch occurred on the system on Saturday due to a planned system update. About 400 patients who visited the 83 affected clinics from Saturday onwards were given the correct quantity of medication but the labels of the medication were erroneous and gave the wrong instructions to patients.

For example, in one case, a patient was told to take 10 bottles of cough mixture each time instead of 10ml. Another affected patient was instructed to take two strips of pills, instead of just two tablets.

The spokesman told reporters: “While the quantity of medication was correctly dispensed, the labels were incorrectly printed in some cases. Patient safety is our priority. We take this incident very seriously and deeply apologise for the error.”

The problem had reportedly been fixed by Sunday and the spokesman said that IHiS is thoroughly investigation the glitch to ensure it does not occur again. Affected clinics have reportedly been contacting patients directly to inform them of the error.

While some doctors have said that GPConnect is one of the most reliable administrative networks they’ve used, others have said that this latest glitch is one of many on a system that is not as robust as it should be.

Dr Khaw May May of Killiney Medical Clinic acknowledged that there are glitches but said that clinic staff would always check the labels before dispensing medication to patients: “It is a new system, so glitches are expected. The important thing is how fast they rectify the problem. IHiS has a team of very dedicated people.”

Another doctor who declined to be named told reporters that the GPConnect system is not robust enough yet and that his clinic has experienced different glitches since they adopted the computer system last year.

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