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Surgical technologies

Surgical system launched in western Saskatchewan

REGINA – Surgical patients in west central Saskatchewan will benefit from a new state of the art system that has been introduced in the Prairie North Health Region's two largest hospitals.

The Surgical Information System (SIS), an electronic system that streamlines processes for patients and staff, is now operational in both Battlefords Union Hospital and Lloydminster Hospital. It allows health providers to electronically schedule surgeries, book operating rooms, arrange appropriate surgical equipment, and track patients through different stages of the surgical process.

“Patients deserve to have the smoothest, safest surgical experience possible,” Health Minister Don McMorris (pictured) said. “The Surgical Information System makes sure healthcare providers have the information they need, when they need it, and automates processes so providers can spend more time with their patients. This is another key part of the Saskatchewan’s Surgical Initiative’s effort to reduce wait times and improve patient experiences.”

McMorris noted that since November 2007, the number of patients waiting longer than 18 months for surgery has dropped 75 percent and the number waiting longer than 12 months has dropped 56 percent.

Prairie North Health Region’s implementation of the SIS marks the first time the system has been simultaneously introduced in more than one site – a major milestone in province-wide implementation of the system.

“Launching two sites at the same time is not something that is typically done with the SIS,” explained Jacquie Baynham, System Administrator for SIS at Battlefords Union Hospital and OR Nurse Manager at BUH. “However, our team agreed that it was important for both of our regional hospitals to be involved in the SIS so we rose to the challenge.”

“Our SIS Project Team is to be commended for their commitment to excellence in the implementation of this project,” Barbara Jiricka, Vice President of Integrated Health Services said. “The introduction of this system will greatly benefit surgical patients and OR staff in Prairie North and we thank the SIS Project Team for their dedication and perseverance.”

The SIS is unique in its ability to exchange data with Saskatchewan’s surgical wait list, which tracks all patients waiting for surgery in hospital operating rooms. The SIS automatically updates the provincial surgical wait list immediately after a patient has received surgery.

The two Prairie North hospitals join those in Prince Albert and Swift Current in using the system. The next facilities to introduce it will be in Saskatoon and Moose Jaw. More information is available at

The SIS supports the goals of the Saskatchewan Surgical Initiative, among which are to ensure that by 2014, all patients have an opportunity to have their surgery within three months. Since the Surgical Initiative began in April 2010, the number of patients waiting more than 18 months has dropped 57 percent (879 cases). The number waiting more than 12 months has declined 43 percent (1,729 cases). Data to June 30, 2011 shows that of the 23,424 people currently waiting for surgery, about 2.8 percent (676 cases) have waited longer than 18 months.

Surgical Information System
A computerized Surgical Information System (SIS) improves patient care by modernizing the delivery of surgical services at the point of patient care. The SIS supports common business practices to facilitate efficient utilization of surgical resources and decision support for effective program planning and monitoring, including surgical wait time management. The main benefits of the SIS are:

Surgical Scheduling provides the ability to electronically book and manage surgical cases. This functionality was designed to be “patient-centric” by including a series of check-points to ensure the patient and facility is ready for the scheduled procedure. Urgencies can be associated to a patient’s booking based on the surgical procedure. Strong management reporting capabilities allow for more efficient analysis of surgery times to ensure optimum scheduling and operating room utilization by leveraging industry best practices.

Charting provides Operating Room staff with the ability to electronically document the operative procedure including: patient preparation, medications given, specimens taken, devices and equipment used, as well as critical surgical procedure times. The surgical charts are readily available to other healthcare providers within the circle of care.

Supply Management improves efficiency by automating the ordering and use of equipment and supplies in the Operating Room that are needed to perform the surgical procedure. The SIS receives the supplies from the hospital’s Materials Management systems. This surgical supply automation enables healthcare providers to focus more on patient care, not inventory management.

Patient Tracking provides visual notification of where the patient is physically located within the hospital on the day of surgery to better prepare staff for the patient as they complete their surgical journey. Family members can view the progression of the patient in the Operating Room until the surgery is complete (when they can re-join the patient). This functionality is similar to arrival/departure screens at airports.

Easy Access to Information is available with appropriate access levels, for future patient surgical activity and enhanced quality of care. Detailed audit trails are captured to record such access. The new system is housed at the data centre and accessed by regional staff over the high-speed secure health information network. Planning and Safety is supported by SIS as it is critical for planning, monitoring and recording surgical events in the ongoing interests of patient safety.

Posted September 8, 2011