Hospital's system glitch disrupts consultations

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 03 January, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 03 January, 2007, 12:00am

An hour-long computer breakdown at the Prince of Wales Hospital yesterday delayed patient consultations, a hospital spokeswoman said.

The spokeswoman confirmed its clinical management system, which stores patients' information, broke down at 11.15am and was restored at 12.15pm.

She played down the severity of the disruption to the system, which is accessed by health-care professionals to help manage patients' information.

The breakdown was due to a problem in the system's database, but refused to elaborate because the results of an investigation into the problem was pending.

'No patient information was lost during the breakdown,' she said. 'The waiting time of patients at the out-patient clinic and blood-taking centre was longer than normal while clinical services remained normal.'

The hospital could not say how many patients were affected or how long they had to wait.

The spokeswoman said there was 'no significant impact' on in-patients, but declined to say whether any surgery had been affected.

A contingency plan was activated to process data manually.

She said the breakdown was unrelated to the earthquake off Taiwan on December 26, which damaged cables carrying internet data to and from Hong Kong.

This is not the first time that a computer breakdown has affected services at the hospital in Sha Tin.

On August 10, 2004, a computer glitch at its Li Ka Shing Specialist Clinic led to 400 patients having to wait hours for their medication on the day the hospital switched to a new version of its electronic medication order entry system.