Zaliha Vows To Restore Selayang Hospital’s IT Glory

Dr Zaliha Mustafa – without providing timelines – promises to restore the glory of Selayang Hospital as a flagship IT hospital in Southeast Asia. In 1999, Selayang Hospital was the first hospital in the world, not just the region, to go fully electronic.

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 16 – Dr Zaliha Mustafa has met with Selayang Hospital management and the Selangor state health department about the tertiary hospital’s broken electronic medical record (EMR) system.

The health minister said they had informed her that it was a “legacy” issue, even though Selayang Hospital staff previously told CodeBlue that the public hospital’s Cerner system completely crashed only in 2021 and that MOH discontinued the maintenance and renewal of Cerner just last year.

Selayang Hospital staff also said that the in-house Backup Health Information System (BHIS) – which could not host laboratory or radiology reports – officially became non-functional just last month, forcing Selayang Hospital to use a hospital system by the Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre (CPRC) that staff said was inappropriate for a tertiary hospital.

“However, with resolve, funding allocation, and appropriate time, this must be resolved,” Dr Zaliha tweeted yesterday, without providing a specific timeline.

“God willing, with the spirit of sustainability and wellbeing of Malaysia Madani, I have firm resolve in restoring the glory of Selayang Hospital as a flagship hospital in the Southeast Asian region like before.”

In 1999, Selayang Hospital was the first tertiary hospital in Malaysia – and even, the world, not just the region – to go fully electronic and paperless with a comprehensive total hospital information system (THIS).

However, about two decades later, Selayang Hospital’s once historic EMR system has declined into an “embarrassing” and “demeaning” mess, four staff doctors told CodeBlue, that creates unnecessary and stressful burdens for doctors, significantly delays operations, and compromises patient care.

A radiologist previously with Selayang Hospital, who has since resigned from public service, wrote for CodeBlue that BHIS – which she designed in-house for the facility – had managed to improve workflow to the point that Selayang Hospital was able to report the majority of Covid-19 chest radiographs during the Delta wave.

She also said that before she left the service, she had put in place a team of IT professionals who could maintain BHIS, but the team was contracted under Selayang Hospital’s recently terminated IT vendor.

“Not being privy to the exact circumstances, but knowing enough of the architecture in Selayang Hospital, I believe that the reason BHIS became non-functional after 18 months was not because of design issues, but because of the absence of preventive maintenance due to the termination of the maintenance team, despite available additional resources,” she said.

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