Ontario eHub connects regional hospitals and LTC homes
August 16, 2023
WINDSOR, Ont. – Connecting the medical records of patients across the healthcare continuum to affect better, more efficient and coordinated care has moved another step forward for hospitals and Long-Term Care (LTC) homes in the Erie St. Clair (ESC) and London region.
As of August 16, 2023, four hospitals – Windsor Regional Hospital, Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, Erie Shores Healthcare, and Chatham Kent Health Alliance – will be connected via the Ontario eHub Health Information Exchange (HIE) with 28 LTC homes in the ESC region, 29 LTC homes in London, and 12 London area hospitals as part of the Ontario eHub connection.
This means a significant improvement in treating patients, whose up-to-date health information will follow them between hospitals as well as LTC homes in Southwestern Ontario, so they no longer have to repeat their medical history and healthcare workers have instant access, allowing them to start care right away without unnecessary tests or delays.
The project utilizes the hospitals’ instance of the Oracle (Cerner) Health Information System (HIS). By the end of 2024, the goal is to connect all 63 hospitals in Ontario using the Oracle Health HIS with LTC homes in their region currently using PointClickCare for electronic health records (EHR).
Project AMPLIFI is the flagship initiative, connecting those using the EPIC health information system in a successful proof of concept after the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need to strengthen healthcare integration to support and provide care to our most vulnerable patients. St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton was tasked to lead Project AMPLIFI by the Ministry of Long-Term Care to digitally integrate the LTC homes’ EHR with acute care hospital information systems. Lessons learned from this initiative helped shape the next phase of integrating hospitals using Oracle Health as their HIS for the Erie St. Clair region and LTC homes, with TransForm Shared Service Organization as the implementation lead for the Ontario Oracle Health collaborative provincially.
“The two-way exchange of patient health information from both these platforms will provide improved visibility into the patient or resident’s clinical condition upon admission to the receiving healthcare facility,” Andriana Lukich (pictured), program director, Project AMPLIFI said. “Clinical staff that access the patient’s chart will have an up-to-date electronic summary detailing the patient’s condition upon arrival. Through the completion of discrete data reconciliation, clinicians at both the hospital and long-term care Home will spend less time manually entering clinical information from paper, reducing transcription errors. Patients are expected to experience higher quality of care and a reduced need to re-share their story and clinical history repeatedly across care settings.”
With a seamless, two-way connection through Ontario eHub, hospital healthcare providers who work with patients arriving from long-term care homes as well as other hospitals in Southwestern Ontario will be able to:
- Immediately access up-to-date and accurate patient health records
- Save time and resources normally spent faxing and phoning for patient health records
- Quickly and easily reconcile allergies, medications, problem lists and immunizations into the patient’s hospital chart
- Increase patient safety by reducing transcription and medical errors during care transitions
- Upon discharge, instantly send digital documentation of the patient’s hospital visit back to care teams, including encounter details, discharge instructions, and key lab and procedure results, recent vital signs and symptoms.
The goal is for patients to experience a higher quality of care, a reduced need to re-share their story and clinical history repeatedly across care settings, and decreased readmissions to hospital. This is a significant benefit and improvement, as well, for patients from hospitals and LTC homes in smaller communities who are regularly transferred to larger regional hospitals for services such as cancer care, dialysis, cardiology, and trauma care.
All of the benefits experienced by exchanging patient information between the ESC hospitals and long-term care homes are also experienced when transferring patients between our ESC hospitals and the London area hospitals for care. Since the London area hospitals are now connected to the Ontario eHub, our acute care patients that are transferred for specialized care such as dialysis, oncology, cardiology and trauma care no longer have to carry their files with them between visits, or remind their care team to fax the information after each appointment.
TransForm Shared Service Organization manages IT/IM and supply chain services for the Erie St. Clair region hospitals and serves as the Ontario eHub HIE project lead for all hospitals in Ontario using the Oracle Health HIS.
St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton is the delivery partner leading Project AMPLIFI over a three-year period and is supporting sites across Ontario to implement a bi-directional data exchange between long-term care homes and hospitals. Project AMPLIFI enabled the implementation of the Ontario eHub to exchange patient health data with Long-Term Care Homes in our region.
About TransForm SSO
TransForm Shared Service Organization is a not-for-profit, shared service organization founded by the five hospitals in Erie St. Clair to manage their hospital IT and supply chain needs. As a leader in health system innovation, TransForm SSO has developed and implemented advanced initiatives that improve efficiency and help customers focus on providing outstanding care and service. Our goal is to provide exceptional customer service, find new opportunities to reduce costs, increase efficiencies while improving the performance of healthcare organizations and helping our member hospitals. Our award-winning team is well-equipped to help the health system thrive. To learn more about TransForm SSO, please visit www.transformsso.ca or follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.