Better collaboration between hospitals, LTC
June 24, 2020
HAMILTON, ON – St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton (SJHH) and St. Joseph’s Villa in Dundas, Ont., have launched a project showing how patient health data can be better shared between acute care hospitals and long-term care partners. While both organizations already collaborate under St. Joseph’s Health System (SJHS), the hospital makes use of the Epic health information system, while long-term care centre employs PointClickCare.
PointClickCare is the third participant in the project, and the company is providing a solution, known as Harmony, to make the integration of electronic records possible.
“We know transitions between long-term care and hospitals can have the potential for medication errors and poor communication can hurt older adults,” said Dr. Hugh Boyd, medical director at St. Joseph’s Villa. “When transferring care, many of us will try to send thorough information or call directly to receiving physicians, but this can sometimes result in over 100 pages being sent either electronically or via fax. This will eliminate clinicians wasting time sorting through fragmented data and allow more time to focus on caring for patients. It will save time and save lives.”
The pilot is funded in part by the CAN Health Network, which was created in July 2019, through a Federal Government investment of $7 million, of which the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) and Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) each contributed $3.5 million. The investment established the Network in Ontario and the West, with expansions to the East, Quebec and the North to come.
“St. Joseph’s Health System is pleased to partner with CAN Health Network and PointClickCare to enable ‘One Digital Health Record’ for our patients and residents,” said Fraser Edward (pictured), VP partnerships at SJHS Centre for Integrated Care.
“Clinicians need seamless and secure access to the right information, at the right time, within their Patient-centred Information Systems,” Edward added. “Through this initiative we will be evaluating how PointClickCare Harmony solution can meet this important requirement and enable SJHS to better support older adults in long-term care and community settings.”
Healthcare systems across Ontario often operate under different digital health record systems. For patients transferred between these healthcare institutions, the lack of standardization can result in paper-based transfer of information, written notes and potential delays in relaying and taking action on important medical information.
Having an integrated care coordination platform can reduce the potential for medication errors, difficulties in obtaining an accurate diagnosis, delays in treatment and care, and readmissions to hospital.
The purpose of the pilot project is to connect various hospital health information systems with long-term care homes to support care coordination and delivery by enabling better information sharing.
“The partnership created with the CAN Health Network, PointClickCare and St. Joseph’s Health System showcases Canadian talent in supporting our older adults in long-term care homes,” said Dr. Dante Morra, chair of the CAN Health Network. “This initiative will help strengthen our healthcare system by addressing healthcare challenges like COVID-19 while helping Canadian innovators like PointClickCare scale faster across Canada.”
Following the pilot, the hope is to expand the solution to other healthcare providers across the province and Canada. Not only will the solution help with the transfer of COVID-19 patients from LTC to hospital, but it will also enable broader goals around integrated care and information sharing, which are fundamental to the success of the newly created Ontario Health Teams.
Additionally, the solution could help reduce the number of unnecessary emergency transfers, as well as and the time that residents may be waiting for information and treatment.
“To support person-centered care, blind handoffs of patient information are simply no longer viable,” said BJ Boyle, vice-president and general manager of post-acute insights, PointClickCare. “Innovative providers like St. Joseph’s Health System understand that with the right technology, they can gather, interpret and act on timely insights to improve the patient journey across multiple care settings.”
A multi-disciplinary team from across SJHS will work with PointClickCare, which provides the cloud-based digital health information system used at St. Joseph’s Villa, to enable the secure two-way exchange of patient data with Dovetale, the hospital’s version of the Epic health information system.
Once the benefits of the project are evaluated, the team hopes to expand the initiative to other LTC homes in Hamilton that use PointClickCare’s cloud-based platform, and then to many more long-term and acute care facilities across the country.
If the pilot is successful, additional hospitals and LTC homes in the CAN Health Network will be able to procure PointClickCare, strengthening healthcare and contributing to the growth of PointClickCare and additional job creation in Canada.
“This is one example of how we can improve communication between healthcare providers in our own community to make sure no one falls through the cracks,” said Dr. Alistair Ingram, chief of medicine at SJHH. “Having shared systems that talk to one another is a step towards the future of healthcare, where we see seamless connections between regional healthcare providers and easily accessible patient information wherever the patient is being cared for.”