EPIC Go-Live June 1
To better serve patients, six Eastern Ontario health partners implement new digital health system together
Working together in our digital age so that personal interaction will continue to be the foundation for compassionate, excellent care
May 29, 2019 – Six regional health partners, including Renfrew Victoria Hospital and St. Francis Memorial Hospital, will begin to use the Epic Health Information Network on June 1, bringing patient-centred care to the digital age. As part of a health information system, each health partner will have real-time access to patient medical information, allowing health-care providers to make timely, informed decisions based on the most comprehensive, and connected information. As a result of this new health information system, patients and providers can look forward to improved collaboration among partners to continue to deliver compassionate, excellent care.
“Too often, patients use precious time explaining and re-explaining their story as they navigate through our health system. When patients arrive at RVH or SFMH enroute to The Ottawa Hospital or the Ottawa Heart Institute, their care team will be better connected to their health story and ready to provide the compassionate care that every patient deserves,” said Randy Penney, President and CEO, RVH and SFMH. “A health information system is important because patients are partners in their own health care, and this digital health network will allow for greater collaboration not only between the hospital partners, but with patients and families as well.”
“The new digital health network means we can provide more seamless care, furthering our mission to provide the best health care experience possible for patients and their families,” added Dr. Steve Radke, Chief of Medical Staff, RVH. “Health partners working together will ensure that we can continue to improve patient safety, quality and care across our region and beyond.”
As part of the new digital health network, patients will have greater access to their own information called MyChart. MyChart is a secure, online portal where patients can see their own health records and other important information, right at their fingertips. This will allow them to collaborate with their care teams, better manage their own care and be more in control of their health information.
During the first few weeks, while staff at the hospital become accustomed to the new system, some processes may take longer than normal. Patients can be assured that they will continue to receive the best care possible, as the hospital is adding extra staff in certain areas to minimize any potential delays.
The current health partners are The Ottawa Hospital, The Ottawa Hospital Academic Family Health Team, the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, Hawkesbury and District General Hospital, Renfrew Victoria Hospital, and St. Francis Memorial Hospital in Barry’s Bay. New partners may come on board as early as January 2020, and the system is designed to improve collaboration between all health partners in our region and beyond.
Launching Epic supports the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care’s mandate to have a more integrated health-care system that improves patient outcomes.
On June 1, these partners join hospitals and health-care providers across Epic’s global network, connecting them to the knowledge, research and best practices of physicians and clinicians from other hospitals in that network, which includes CHEO in Ottawa, SickKids and Mackenzie Health in the GTA, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, and others like the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and Johns Hopkins University in Maryland.
You asked, we answered: Why Epic?
Why Join the Atlas Alliance?
Renfrew Victoria Hospital has had a hospital information system that served basic functions to support patient care for several years. With the continued movement to integrated systems and sharing of patient information to support continuity of care, RVH senior management explored various enhancements and/or alternatives to its current system. Through programs, RVH has also been strengthening the relationships with its partners and building collaborative networks across the continuum of care. There are numerous examples of this: being a leader in health links; our role in leading and participating in regional programs and services; the use of OTN to support care closer to home; our ambulatory clinics; participation in CNER and other shared information systems such as NEODIN, and more.
“Our primary referral patterns are to The Ottawa Hospital (TOH) and to the University of Ottawa Heart Institute (UOHI). Given the flow of patients and the manner in which we deliver care, from nephrology, satellite oncology, radiology, echocardiology, surgery, to name just a few clinical areas, there were huge risks for our patients and hospitals if we did not remain in sync with TOH and UOHI” noted Randy Penney, RVH CEO.
The opportunity to share a patient-centred electronic health record and therefore ease the flow of information related to patient health and care not only means safer, better and more seamless care for the patients, but also ensures providers have the necessary information in a timely manner, and tests and procedures do not need to be duplicated.
“Joining the Atlas Alliance and implementing Epic is all about care and doing what is right for our patients, staff and physicians,” said Randy. “It will lead to enhanced standardization and more leading practices for Renfrew and Barry’s Bay. The need to drive standardization is essential for the future. Beyond clinical benefits, the decisions of TOH and UOHI provide enormous clarity for our organizations and, by extension, cost avoidance for our hospital trying to determine the most appropriate electronic health record system”.
What is the Atlas Alliance?
The Atlas Alliance is made up of five hospitals: The Ottawa Hospital, Hawkesbury and District General Hospital, Renfrew Victoria Hospital, St. Francis Memorial Hospital and the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, as well as the Ottawa Hospital Academic Family Health Team.
According to Chris Ferguson, RVH VP of Patient Care Services, “The Atlas Alliance undertook a rigorous and stringent Request for Proposal and evaluation process to choose the best system for the hospitals in the Alliance. Staff and physicians from RVH and SFMH were involved in the evaluation and vendor demonstrations that resulted in the decision that Epic was the best system, not only for patients, but also for staff and physicians. The system is intuitive and will significantly enhance patient safety and improve our use of best practices for all patients”.
“Epic is one of the leading providers of electronic health record systems in the world, used by many of the top-performing hospitals. By ourselves, we could not afford such a comprehensive and robust system. However, in partnership with the Atlas Alliance members, we can bring a world class system to RVH and SFMH,” said Tim Sonnenburg, RVH VP of Finance.
In alignment with the RVH vision, mission and values and our strategic plan, as well as what is best for our patients, staff and physicians, the decision seemed to be an easy one. “The Ottawa Hospital has made a very significant decision that will change the way care is delivered in this region and we (RVH/SFMH) are so fortunate to be a true partner in this investment." – Randy Penney.
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