24 Aug UDC Continues to Address Issues with Transition to New Electronic Medical Records System
On August 1, Fusion (a vendor contracted with the Utah Department of Corrections) launched a new Electronic Health Records system to help manage care in correctional facilities. Within a matter of days, it became apparent that there were some problems with the roll-out. The scope of those issues is still being uncovered, but a glitch that initially seemed to cause isolated patients to fail to receive medication refills, soon ballooned into a system-wide health data migration issue.
The Utah Department of Corrections (UDC) has already received support from the Governor’s Office, the Utah Department of Health and Human Services, and local pharmacies to rectify the problem. This week, UDC increased their medical presence with patients throughout the prison system to confirm the accuracy of prescriptions.
The Utah Department of Health and Human Services has provided four pharmacists, five pharmacy technicians, and a total of 26 medical representatives including, registered nurses, physicians assistants, and advanced practice nurses. Staff throughout UDC’s Clinical Services Bureau, and other UDC personnel, are continuing to work tirelessly to correct data and fill prescriptions.
UDC is grateful for partnerships with the University of Utah Medical Center’s Midvalley Pharmacy, Gunnison Family Pharmacy, and other pharmacies throughout the state to increase its capacity to deliver medications. UDC fills 750-1,000 prescriptions on a typical day; on Monday, UDC filled 2,000.
UDC’s Planning and Research Bureau, and the state Division of Technology Services are assisting the software developers in auditing data and digging into technical details.
“Our medical providers have been putting in long, dedicated hours to manage the care of incarcerated individuals. We are making significant progress and we will not be satisfied until it is completely resolved.” said Brian Nielson, executive director with the Utah Department of Corrections. “We are grateful for their service, and we truly appreciate the support of all our state partners and other agencies who are assisting during this critical time.”
As part of UDC’s regular process, if incarcerated individuals have an urgent medical concern, they can notify the officer in their housing section. If incarcerated individuals need to be seen by medical or have a prescription filled, they can submit a health care request form (available on their housing unit) to be seen. And anyone concerned that their incarcerated loved one is not receiving critical medications is encouraged to contact UDC.
While the data migration to this new system has posed immense challenges, UDC recognizes the severity of the crisis at hand and will continue to be transparent and accountable to repair the issues and restore confidence that all incarcerated individuals will reliably receive their medications in a timely and accurate manner.
UDC continues to communicate directly with families of incarcerated individuals. UDC anticipates that when all the issues are ironed out with the Fusion Electronic Health Records system, it will provide vast systemic improvements and successfully phase out an antiquated database.
The Utah Department of Corrections will share an update for the families of incarcerated individuals on August 26 from 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. via Zoom regarding the technical challenges we have experienced moving to a new medical records management system. We will open for questions at the end of the event.