IT glitch causes MOH to misinform patients of reinfection

This article is more than 12 months old

An SMS message was sent erroneously last Saturday by the Health Ministry to 357 people previously diagnosed with Covid-19, telling them they had once again tested positive.

The ministry said this was caused by an IT system testing glitch during efforts to increase the system's efficiency.

All recipients received a follow-up message within three hours that clarified the situation and apologised for the inconvenience as well as anxiety caused.

"We have since reviewed our processes to ensure a similar error will not recur," the ministry said, referring to screenshots of the erroneous messages posted in a Channel News Asia report. In them, the recipients were told to wear a mask and isolate themselves, upload their TraceTogether data and contact their doctor for medical queries.

A later message told them to ignore the previous SMS.

The authorities have been trying to use SMS notifications to inform patients of their test results in a bid to streamline the process as Singapore begins actively testing those suspected of having Covid-19 at all polyclinics and selected general practitioner clinics.

The ministry's Office for Healthcare Transformation launched an unrelated system called iConnect.Covid earlier this month that automatically sends SMS notifications of negative test results to patients from six polyclinics.

The system will also alert healthcare institutions when patients test positive, enabling the patients to be contacted and transported to healthcare facilities. - THE STRAITS TIMES