Quinte Health Care News
QHC first launched electronic patient charts in 2006 and has continued to make steady progress towards electronic health records. When compared to most other Canadian hospitals, QHC is currently on par or slightly ahead with the state of its electronic health record systems.
"We realize that at the moment it is challenging for health care providers to see the entire patient story as our electronic charts are incomplete and not well connected," said Barry Hillier, Director, Information Systems and Knowledge Management. "By providing a single integrated patient record we will streamline the flow of clinical information and ultimately provide the highest quality and safest care possible."
Mr. Hillier adds that e-health systems are also a significant recruitment tool for QHC. "Potential staff and physicians want to see that a hospital has the advanced electronic systems that make it easier and more efficient for them to provide high quality and safe patient care."
One of the strategies of the new QHC e-health plan is a medication reconciliation system that QHC will implement in the next year. Medication reconciliation is when health care providers work with the family and patient to get a comprehensive list of all the current medications so that any medications that are added, changed or stopped during their treatment are carefully evaluated.
"Having a comprehensive electronic medication reconciliation system allows the physicians to efficiently make the most appropriate medication decisions for each patient, with the support of the Pharmacy department," said Brad Harrington, VP & CFO. "Medication problems are one of the top reasons for readmission to hospital, so we recognize that by investing in this system we will be providing better quality and safer care to our patients, in addition to saving money for the health care system."
Mr. Harrington adds that QHC is also working with the SouthEast Local Health Integration Network to explore the possibility of a common electronic health record system at all seven hospital organizations in the region. "We know that different systems at each hospital can create barriers for our clinicians to access patient information.The procurement of common systems can help eliminate those barriers and also leads to cost efficiencies over the long term.
The new e-health plan will be implemented within QHC's regular information technology capital investments, which have been averaging about $2 million per year. A move to a common regional electronic health record across the region would require additional capital investment.
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