Canadian hospital sifts through four years worth of records

August 27, 2013

As a way to reduce costs, hospitals around the world are changing their database management services. Despite evidence that shows paperless records can improve workflow and streamline operations, some practices prefer their filing cabinets and paper records. Hamilton Health Services (HHS) in Canada recently met the challenge of going through financial statements between 2007 and 2011, according to the Spectator.

The organization’s financial department told officials that it will take five and a half months to look through 23,500 invoices because they do not have an electronic database. HHS decided to relocate its paperwork into a storage room because it would cost $3,600, but board members appealed to make the office reveal these records regardless of their specific situation.

“Putting up resistance doesn’t say a great deal for accountability,” Stephen Birch, a professor in the Center for Health Economics and Policy Analysis at McMaster told the news source. “It raises serious questions about how funds are used. If there is nothing to be concerned about, they should be happy to have them uncovered.”

HHS’ refusal to publicly show their balance sheets are violating the country’s Freedom of Information and Protection Privacy Act. Canada law requires all public entities to keep six years worth of financial statements in case there are tax discrepancies.

If HHS changed their data processes to a paperless records system early on, they could have perhaps prevented this issue. Staffers could have pulled up the information sooner and avoid public backlash.

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