Fraser Health rolls out new electronic records system
November 8, 2023
MISSION, BC – Fraser Health Authority has expanded the use of its new electronic health record system, Meditech Expanse, to the Mission Memorial Hospital and Hope’s Fraser Canyon Hospital. The hospitals are the second and third in the region to launch the system after Eagle Ridge Hospital in Port Moody in April.
Mission Memorial Hospital site medical director Dr. Paul Theron (pictured) said the launch will lead to a significant transformation for staff and patients. “We’re all paper-based right now. Everything we do is on paper – the patient’s charts are printed on paper, the orders are written on paper, our notes are on paper – so this is moving to a completely digital system. From the point of registration to the point of discharge and everything in between is happening on the computer.”
Theron says the big benefit of the new system is the ease with which information can be shared between health authorities and providers. He says there’s also less potential for errors with transcription or handwriting.
The transfer of orders is also expected to happen a lot faster between physicians, nurses, imaging departments, labs and wherever the information needs to go.
“It’s a long time coming. I know … Vancouver Coastal Health moved to a digital system a number of years ago and we’ve been playing catch up,” Theron said.
The hospital team has been preparing for the transition by doing training, but Theron says it’s reasonable to expect that there will probably be some hiccups or unexpected issues that the hospital hopes to mitigate and plan for as best as possible.
“It’s a little bit new for everybody. As much as you do your training in a kind of siloed environment, in a classroom environment with trainers and support around, it’s always different when you have pressure and patients around. Things happen quickly. Especially in the emergency department where you know one big emergency coming into department can really slow everything down,” Theron said.
Theron says it’s important for patients to know that the hospital is moving to the Expanse platform and to expect to wait longer than usual if they come to the emergency room. However, Theron says the hospital staff is simultaneously excited and nervous about the new system.
“It really allows you to capture and kind of mine data from the patient’s visits in a much more efficient way,” he said. “Once that data is locked up with papers, it’s a difficult, arduous manual process, to go pull information about what happened to patients – complications, outcome issues, ways for us to look to improve the provision of health care and the patient’s experience in the hospital.”
Theron is also excited for Mission Hospital’s new CT scanner to open at some point in 2024 and he thinks it will be a huge gain for the community. The hospital is consistently recruiting staff as well.
“As a small hospital, we’re always working to bring extra staff and extra doctors into the community and skilled nursing and skilled specialists to our patients. So those are just things that are a continuous effort for us but I’m really happy with the team that we have at the hospital at the moment,” Theron said.
Going forward, Theron hopes a new hospital is on the horizon for Mission.
Mission was chosen to launch the new digital system because it would be easier to adopt for a smaller hospital.