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Hamilton’s IT experts solve problems for other hospitals

Mark FarrowHAMILTON, Ont. – Hamilton Health Sciences’ IT department has launched a ‘for profit’ consulting team that is assisting other hospitals and healthcare organizations with their information technology challenges.

Called HITS (short for Health Information Technology Services), the group draws on Hamilton Health Sciences’ staff of 100 tech professionals and has expertise in strategic planning and project management, security, clinical informatics, application development, network design, and more.

“We’ve assembled a stellar team,” said Mark Farrow (pictured), Vice President and CIO at HHS, who notes his group has extensive experience in developing a wide variety of systems, and has been a Canadian leader in areas such as interoperability, portals, and mobile solutions.

HITS recently signed West Haldimand General Hospital, in Hagersville, Ont., as a customer. “We’re taking on all of their IT work,” says Farrow. “We’re now their IT department.”

As well, HITS is providing a similar service for another regional hospital, the Haldimand War Memorial Hospital, in Dunnville, Ont.

Farrow explained that many smaller hospitals have neither the budgets nor the human resources to keep up with fast-changing demands of clinicians, administrators and patients for up-to-date systems and solutions.

But an organization like HITS can do it for them, quickly and cost-effectively.

“We can do the job at less cost than the big consulting firms,” said Farrow. Moreover, he said his team has as much, if not more, experience in healthcare informatics. “We live it every day,” said Farrow. “And we can take what we do as a major teaching hospital and give those benefits to other hospitals.”

He said HITS is also in talks with the major vendors to see if they can strike up various service partnerships.

Farrow explained that revenue generated by HITS is used to maintain and further develop the technology at Hamilton Health Sciences.

In fact, the innovative organization arose as a response to cost-cutting at HHS, something which has affected hospitals across Canada.

“Management told us to cut the departmental budget by 2%, or figure out how to make an extra 2%,” said Farrow. “This is our response. We’re re-thinking what hospital IT is all about.”

Healthcare organizations interested in services from HITS can contact Mark Farrow or Kareem Toni, Director, HITS Client Services. 905-521-2100, ext. 76523

About Hamilton Health Sciences
Hamilton Health Sciences is a family of seven unique hospitals, a cancer centre and an urgent care centre, serving more than 2.3 million residents of Hamilton and south central Ontario, Canada. Hamilton Health Sciences is the second largest hospital group in Ontario, and serves as a regional referral centre for cardiac, stroke, burns, trauma, neurosurgery, pediatrics, digestive diseases, high-risk obstetrics, cancer, orthopedics and rehabilitation services. With a staff of approximately 11,000, the hospital is the largest employer in the Hamilton region. As an academic teaching hospital with more than 1,100 beds and an affiliation with McMaster University and Mohawk College, Hamilton Health Sciences is committed to providing exemplary healthcare while advancing excellence in education and health research. The organization’s exceptional track record of inquiry and innovation has earned Hamilton Health Sciences recognition as one of the world’s leading health science research organizations.

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