HHHS is preparing for a major shift in healthcare record keeping. In partnership with six other healthcare service centres in Ontario, the services will launch Epic, a new clinical information software system, Dec. 3.
HHHS CEO Carolyn Plummer said it will streamline patient information across the service.
It also requires new equipment such as vital sign machines and Workstations on Wheels, funded by the HHHS foundation.
“Staff are going through training and there’s a lot of work to be done,” Plummer told the HHHS board Oct. 28. “It’s a very significant change in their practice.”
First rolled out in Canada in 2015, Epic is a growing medical software system, which is now used in 134 Canadian hospitals.
The system means Haliburton patients’ medical records will be synced between all seven hospitals that have partnered together to implement the system.
“Because we are a small hospital, we rely very much on the services offered by other hospitals in our region,” Plummer said, explaining how many Haliburton residents receive care in Peterborough, for example.
“It will mean one medical record can be securely accessed by each medical provider.”
Previously, a new medical record had to be created for each medical centre they might receive service in.
“The healthcare professionals will be able to have better information at their fingertips, and patients won’t have to be asked the same questions over and over again,” Plummer said.
She also said the system will automatically prompt nurses, physicians and aides when certain care procedures are needed.
“I think it’s going to have a really positive impact on patients,” Plummer said.
Patients can also access their own records online, view and cancel appointments and communicate with healthcare providers.
Nursing Advisory Committee meets
A new committee is focused on supporting and improving the experience of HHHS nurses.
The Nursing Advisory Council had its first meeting Oct. 25.
Plummer reported that the committee is meant to “better understand the current nursing environment and determine ways to support it.”
She said the committee has already begun to review service areas such as dietary workflow on inpatient services. She said that early in October nurses conducted a walk-through exercise in the Haliburton emergency department to determine improvement opportunities such as changing supply quantity orders and improving communication processes.
New call systems at LTC
Work is set to begin on installing a new call bell system in Hyland Crest and Highland Wood long-term care homes.
Funded by the HHHS foundation, the call systems are an electronic notification system which will allow residents to call staff. It’s the same as is currently in use at the health service’s main hospital location.
It will correspond with additional display stations so that nurses and PSWs don’t have to report to a nurse’s station to see the location of the call.
“The residents won’t really notice any change,” Plummer said. “There will still be a button they use to call the nursing staff. But the nursing staff and PSWs in the team will certainly notice a difference.”