Longwoods Online October 2007: 0-0
Credit Valley Physicians REACH the Electronic Health Highway
AbstractMississauga, ON) A recent partnership between The Credit Valley Hospital (CVH), Halton Healthcare Services (HHS) and William Osler Health Centre (WOHC) means that patient safety, satisfaction and technology will be enhanced at these three organizations. William Osler Health Centre and Halton Healthcare Services recently welcomed The Credit Valley Hospital to the REACH portal. The collaboration between six physical hospital sites in Peel and Halton regions means all of their clinicians have instant access to patient health information stored electronically at any of the hospitals through a secure network called REACH -- Rapid Electronic Access to Clinical Health information. The electronic health information portal allows authorized clinicians access to their patients' information through a secure web browser inside and outside of the hospital environment. This means lab and diagnostic test results, images, transcriptions and progress reports written at one hospital can be viewed immediately by a physician treating the patient at a subsequent visit at one of the other five facilities. Patients move between facilities for different diagnostic tests and procedures that are not necessarily performed at all facilities.
Credit Valley's patient information - health record, lab and diagnostic test results and images, transcriptions and progress reports can be easily viewed and updated with new information.
"Integrating our system with William Osler Health Centre and Halton Healthcare Services will reduce the duplication of tests and by doing so, reduce healthcare costs." says Dan Germain, Credit Valley vice president and e-Health lead for the Mississauga Halton Local Health Integration Network. "What's most important is the benefit to patients, especially in emergency situations when access to comprehensive patient information is critical."
Dr. Paul Philbrook, CVH chief of Family Medicine and current Chair of the Central West - Mississauga Halton Community Family Medicine / Public Health Network of Physicians. He and his colleagues championed the idea of allowing affiliated physicians the opportunity to access their patient records across all local hospital sites. He says "the REACH portal is a welcome advancement of access to patient information and integration locally. This will enhance patient care and safety."
"Shared access to the electronic health record is one of the most important collaborations between healthcare providers in a LHIN environment," according to Mississauga Halton LHIN CEO Bill MacLeod. Central West LHIN CEO, Mimi Lowi-Young concurs noting, "the REACH portal contains virtually all of the on-line data contained within the three hospitals and six sites for a population in excess of one million inhabitants."
The REACH web portal provides access to over 90,000 inpatient stays and 1,050,000 outpatient visits for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2007. Patient stays and visits from all three hospitals are consolidated into one web portal view for use by authorized clinicians.
The electronic health information is only a keystroke away after the clinician logs into the secure REACH network with his user identity and password. There the clinician will see a "dashboard" of patient information options to view the patient as "admitted, attending or referring" and then choosing the pertinent information fields.
Unlike traditional web portals, this dashboard is able to access clinical data from disparate systems through one unified view, enabling easy review of patients' records, lab results, cardiology images, diagnostic (PACS) images, transcriptions and progress reports. Because the ehealth record will show the patient's entire health history, important information such as medication allergies will be revealed even if the patient inadvertently forgets to mention the allergy at the time of a visit to one of the five other health facilities currently on the REACH network.
"That's especially important," says Germain, "as we move toward the integration of health information from across and between all providers within the province's Local Health Integration Networks (LHIN)." Germain is the e-Health Lead for the Mississauga Halton Local Health Integration Network.
William Osler Health Centre and Halton Healthcare Services initiated the electronic highway between their facilities more than a year ago when the Georgetown site moved from within William Osler's cluster of facilities to become part of Halton Healthcare Services. It was important for continuity of care that the patient information stored electronically on Osler's computer system became available to Halton Healthcare providers as well.
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