eHealth Ontario invests $5M in ClinicalConnect
HAMILTON and WATERLOO, Ont. – eHealth Ontario announced a $5 million investment in ClinicalConnect, a secure, web-based portal that enables physicians and other authorized caregivers in the Hamilton and Waterloo regions to view the records of patients at 28 hospitals and two Community Care Access Centres.
More than 2,500 health care providers can use the system and have immediate access to records and reports in hospitals and CCACs across the two LHINs, representing over two million patient records. The new investment will allow for 600 additional physicians to join the system; it will also be used for upgrades to the network’s infrastructure.
Greg Reed (pictured), president and CEO of eHealth Ontario, explained that the new strategy of the provincial organization is to support and enhance existing EHR networks across Ontario. “ClincalConnect has proven to be a terrific tool for enabling clinicians to look at patient records,” he said. “What makes sense is to say, let’s use that, it’s a proven solution.”
ClinicalConnect was first implemented in the HNHB LHIN and was later expanded to the WW LHIN. Healthcare providers can now access and share patient medical information across LHIN boundaries, regardless of whether the patient was admitted to hospital in Hamilton or received a diagnostic test in Kitchener.
Dale Anderson, a Senior Consultant with the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant LHIN, noted that Medseek portal technology is at the core of the network. It’s enabling clinicians in hospitals to see records of their patients at other hospitals; it’s also allowing front-line physicians in the community to access hospital and CCAC records.
“It’s getting information to clinicians faster, and it does improve care,” said Anderson. “Clinicians are spending less time tracking down information.” And because they’ve got quick access to information, “there are no duplicate tests needed, and there are fewer medical errors made.”
“Having our hospitals and healthcare professionals connected electronically across two LHINs is a significant achievement,” said Bruce Lauckner, CEO, WW LHIN. “For the first time, a doctor in Cambridge can look up their patient’s diagnostic test results in Guelph, and discharge information for a hospitalization in Hamilton, in the same place online.”
Mark Farrow, CIO at Hamilton Health Sciences, observed that “the uptake of ClinicalConnect has been huge.”
“It’s the first time in my career that I’ve had doctors knocking on the door saying, when can I get this.”
Farrow said that in addition to desktop access, ClinicalConnect is also available to care-givers using iPads and iPhones.
Not only is the information they obtain from ClinicalConnect useful to physicians for making faster, more accurate decisions, but it’s also popular with the participating hospitals. “It’s reduced the need to send transcribed reports to doctors,” said Farrow. “Doctors can go in themselves and download what they need, right into their EMRs.”
For more information, see:
• ClinicalConnect at http://info.clinicalconnect.ca.
• eHealth Ontario at http://www.ehealthontario.on.ca/
• Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant LHIN at http://www.hnhblhin.on.ca/
• Waterloo Wellington LHIN at http://www.waterloowellingtonlhin.on.ca/
Posted August 11, 2011