2 Mar 2022

Covid-19: computer system woes affecting patient care

From Midday Report, 12:41 pm on 2 March 2022

As Omicron surges - the country's Covid Care Management system is down.

The computer system is used by Covid-19 patients, general practices, and other healthcare providers.

Te Whānau o Waipareira Trust says it has been inundated with calls for support from whānau for a week, who have been unable to get through to the Government support lines.

Another Ministry of Health website - where people can request rapid testing kits - is also down.

The Ministry has confirmed the difficulties.

The trust's chief operating officer Awerangi Tamihere spoke to Max Towle about how it was affecting patient care.

This statement was received from the Ministry of Health while the interview was going to air: 

Attributable to a Ministry of Health spokesperson:

"We have released a significant amount of technology over the past few days in our response to Omicron and border reopening.

"We are aware of some issues with the speed that new Covid-19 cases are notified in IT system used by GPs to manage their patients.  This system, called Covid Clinical Care Module, helps connect care across providers supporting people with Covid-19, and support cases and their households able to access the care that they need. It is also being used in some areas to support payment mechanisms. We are working through these issues and will continue to optimise the system through the morning.

"People can still reach out for support via 0800 numbers at any time should they need help. This information is provided when they are initially notified they are a case through a text or a phone call.

"We have robust procedures in place in local areas to ensure that people who have not filled in their online form do receive a phone call and support.

"Further information about what to do if you test positive for COVID-19 can be found on the Unite Against COVID-19 website, including local providers and support.

"Link here https://covid19.govt.nz/isolation-and-care/if-you-have-covid-19/

"Separately, we are aware of reports of a whanau having difficulty accessing support during their isolation. We are investigating this matter and have reached out to the local care hub involved to resolve any issues."