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Paramedic scheduling system ‘still far from perfect’ nearly a year after launch

‘How long are we going to try fixing something that might not be fixable?’ questions councillor

CBC News Posted: Jan 09, 2018 Lauren Pelley

A risk assessment of the $17-million scheduling system slammed by some Toronto paramedics has now wrapped up, but problems with the software are still ongoing nearly a year after its launch.

CBC Toronto first broke the story of paramedics’ patient safety concerns about the Kronos software system last August.

Mike Merriman, who’s been a paramedic for 26 years, said at that time that on-duty paramedics don’t always show up in the system, leading them to miss nearby calls.

Merriman, the service’s current representative with the Canadian Union of Public Employees, said the situation is improving, but “still far from perfect.”

Launched in February 2017 for Toronto Paramedic Services, the software scheduling system is supplied by Kronos Inc., a Massachusetts-based workforce management software and service company.

A report providing an update on the software system following the completion of the risk assessment, which was conducted by Deloitte, said “there were and continue to be numerous system stabilization issues” with the software suite, “which impacted user adoption and created staff frustration.”

Paramedics operating at ‘normal service levels,’ city says

That report is heading to the city’s government management committee on Thursday. A city spokesperson told CBC Toronto the city will not be addressing inquiries about the report until it has committee and council consideration.

“Project teams will continue to review challenges and refine the Kronos technology to increase workforce productivity, improve business processes and scheduling capabilities for the City,” noted spokesperson Jackie DeSouza in an email.

Toronto Paramedic Services continues to “operate at normal service levels,” she added.

“At no time since Kronos was implemented has TPS’s response time to emergency calls been impacted. Patients continue to receive the fastest possible response to emergency calls.”

But Ward 39 Coun. Jim Karygiannis isn’t yet convinced that it’s possible to fix the system, given the lingering bugs.

“How long are we going to try fixing something that might not be fixable?” he said.