Technology has an incredible ability to impact our lives.
It allows us to easily manage our personal finances, order groceries on the street, and stay in touch with family and friends around the world. Advances in technology are transforming the way we work and deliver healthcare.
Niagara Health is embarking on a $150 million digital transformation as we build a modern Hospital Information System (HIS) that will help us better serve patients. The SIS will make it easier for patients and health care providers to access health records, improve the quality and safety of patient care, and create a more connected and collaborative health system in Niagara.
Over the next two years, we will team up with Hôtel-Dieu Shaver Health and Rehabilitation Center to build and implement the new HIS. The system will eliminate the need for paper-based patient records and provide secure access to a patient’s up-to-date medical history to providers at Hotel Dieu Shaver and all Niagara Health hospital sites.
Access to a single electronic medical record will provide our healthcare professionals with faster access to the information they need to make important healthcare decisions. This more efficient system will save our clinicians time, which means more meaningful time spent with patients. Improved information sharing will also help patients become more engaged in their care and reduce the need for patients to repeat their story multiple times when interacting with different members of the care team.
A patient’s health record contains a lifetime of medical history and information needed to safely diagnose and prescribe treatment. At everyone’s fingertips, you’ll find records of a patient’s medications, allergies, past diagnostic test results, and other important details about their medical history. For example, the SIS will improve the medication safety practices we currently have in place by electronically alerting our clinicians to drug interactions, safe doses, patient allergies and more.
The SIS will provide clinicians with new opportunities to collect and analyze data, increasingly supporting evidence-based decision-making and standardization of care across our hospital sites. In addition, this new data will support Niagara Health’s research and innovation programs.
From a patient perspective, this new technology will build on the digital tools and services already available at Niagara Health. Today, patients can use our mobile app, access virtual emergency care, and download diagnostic records online. The new HIS will expand and make these services even more accessible, while automatically updating health records in real time. Soon, all patients will be able to register and check in for hospital appointments from any mobile device.
The staff currently working at Niagara Health are eagerly awaiting the technological updates that the SIS will bring. It will take a team effort with Patient Partners and nearly 100 of our team members to help build the system to ensure it best meets the unique needs of patients, families, staff, physicians and the community of Niagara Health and Hôtel Dieu Shaver.
We all know that Canada is experiencing a severe shortage of health care workers. The healthcare professionals I speak with want to work in the best facilities, with the best technology and the best teams. It is already clear that our modern HIS will help us attract and retain the best and brightest staff and physicians.
Our longer-term planning calls for the information system to be accessible to an increasing number of our healthcare partners in Niagara, consistent with our efforts to work more collaboratively to improve patient care and outcomes.