Our tax dollars at work? We deserve better

The project is five years late, incomplete, riddled with deficiencies, and much of the technology may already be out dated."

The project is five years late, incomplete, riddled with deficiencies, and much of the technology may already be out dated.”

It is thus that the Panorama Public Health System was described recently by British Columbia’s auditor general, Carol Bellringer.

Panorama is an IT system bought and paid for by the provincial government (to the tune of at least $115 million) after the SARS outbreak in early 2003. It was supposed to “improve management of communicable disease outbreaks and immunization programs across the country.” It’s a laudable goal and we can see that it is important to be able to properly track disease outbreaks and who has been immunized and who hasn’t.

Other provinces, including Ontario and Quebec did also implement the same system.

But just because everyone’s doing it doesn’t mean anyone got a good deal.

“Panorama has been impacted by defects from the start,” Bellringer reported. “It is inefficient to use, burdensome to public health staff, and requires ongoing financial support.”

Apparently we continue to spend about $14 million a year on this turkey.

But anybody can get a bad deal, right? Software is buggy and they don’t necessarily get it right the first time.

In this case, however, when things started to go wrong, problems were compounded, leaving taxpayers worse off than ever.

“Of particular concern, is not only a failure to control costs, but decisions that unnecessarily increased costs,” said Bellringer. “When IBM could not deliver on the original contract terms, we saw no evidence that the ministry considered other options such as contract termination or alternate systems.

Instead, the Ministry of Health renegotiated with IBM in a way that transferred financial risk from IBM to taxpayers.”

That last is enough to make the blood boil.

To its credit, the Ministry of Health has acknowledged some of the issues in the auditor’s report and says it is taking steps to make corrections.

But it does argue that Panorama is better than what they used to have, as if that is some kind of high praise.

It reminds us forcefully of the expensive, obsolete nightmare that was the BCeSIS system that our schools were forced to adopt. It cost the district $1 million, never worked right, then was discontinued.

We’re concerned that a big $14 million a year is still going to try to make Panorama work well for us.

Given the history of the project, that’s not comforting.

But we did have to love this bit of bureaucratic bafflegab at its best from the Ministry of Health press release: “We also recognize the need for a collaborative leadership approach for large IT projects.”

Hopefully they’ll actually come up with something more meaningful in terms of action.

Just Posted

Old-growth logging protesters block a road on Monday, June 14. This is not the blockade at Honeymoon Bay referred to in the story. (Facebook photo)
Old-growth logging protesters block RCMP access on road near Honeymoon Bay

Police were on their way to enforcement in Fairy Creek area when they were stopped

DAVID VAN DEVENTER
Cowichan Citizen and Lake Cowichan Gazette announce new publisher

David van Deventer has been with Black Press Media since 2014

Island Health is bringing a vaccination clinic to Lake Cowichan starting June 23. (Submitted)
COVID vaccine clinic coming to Lake Cowichan as area numbers lag

Clinic will operate at arena starting June 23

The Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society, which has been operating a treatment centre on land leased from the Nanoose First Nation for 35 years (pictured), has begun a fundraising campaign to open a new centre near Duncan. (Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society photo)
New Indigenous treatment centre to be built near Duncan

Centre will help survivors of residential schools

Rick Ruppenthal of Saltair will host a 12-hour talk-a-thon Friday, June 18 over Facebook live. (Photo submitted)
Talk-a-thon to focus on men’s mental health issues

Saltair man spearheading a campaign to generate more conversation during fundraiser

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Two ambulances and a medevac helicopter are on scene at Taylor River Flats rest area on Highway 4 due to a serious motor vehicle incident. (PHOTO COURTESY MAGGIE BROWN)
Highway 4 reopens between Port Alberni and Tofino

Multi-vehicle accident temporarily closed highway in both directions

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.-Alberta’s Indigenous languages, art and culture

Advisor says initiative supports the urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact he recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

Most Read