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SickKids and CHEO launch an Epic partnership

By Justin Faiola

TORONTO – The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) has begun a multi-year project to implement a fully integrated health information system using software from Epic, an industry leader in electronic health record software. In addition, SickKids and the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) have partnered to develop and implement the first integrated Canadian paediatric instance of Epic.

The project will fundamentally change the way SickKids provides care and will improve research by bringing all patient information and charting into one integrated electronic system.

“The evolution of patient care, not only at SickKids, but throughout the entire healthcare system, has become incredibly complex and fragmented,” says Dr. Michael Apkon, President and CEO of SickKids. “We need to work towards creating a more coordinated system to improve care across the province; a system where a child’s entire care team, including their family, can contribute their expertise and access their health information.”

The Epic system also provides patients and their families with anytime access to their health information through an online portal called MyChart, a radical departure from the limited access many patients and families currently have.

“Implementing Epic will help SickKids significantly improve hospital efficiencies, enhance patient safety and access to patient information, and overall create a more seamless care experience for children and their families,” says Dr. Apkon.

To tackle this complex, transformative process, SickKids has assembled more than 100 project staff who will be dedicated to working on the project. In addition, hundreds of staff from across the hospital will work closely with the project team to shape the system into one that reflects the care delivered at SickKids.

“This investment we are making is not just an IT project,” explains Dr. Sarah Muttitt, Vice-President and Chief Information Officer at SickKids. “There will be a mass amount of change that will also transform the way we do business and the way we operate clinically.

It’s exciting, but it’s going to be a challenging process; one that will force us to re-imagine the way we do our work and deliver care to children and their families.”

In addition, the SickKids-CHEO partnership will inspire and facilitate innovations that will result in better, more consistent and more coordinated care, especially for patients with complex needs. It will also help set the provincial standard for paediatric care, scale up a mutual vision for clinical research, benchmark and report on quality improvement practices across a broad range of paediatric service providers, and ensure a more efficient and sustainable future.

“As healthcare innovators, this is a significant opportunity and one of our best hopes for the future of high-quality, integrated care for kids across Ontario,” says Alex Munter, President and CEO of CHEO, which is already using Epic in its labs and outpatient clinics.

“Our experience with Epic has truly been all about the transformation of our clinical care for children and their families.”

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