First in Canada Epic end-to-end electronic medical record

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By Catalina Guran

This past summer Mackenzie Health launched a new electronic medical record (EMR) that transforms the way care is delivered in this community. Implemented in collaboration with Epic, the software is the first full-suite Epic EMR to be installed in Canada. A state-of-the-art system, the EMR makes it possible for the care team to spend more time with patients, provides physicians with exactly what they need to make important healthcare decisions quicker and empowers patients with easy access to their health records.

“Our vision at Mackenzie Health is to create a world-class health experience for our patients and families, and ensure they receive the highest quality care possible,” says Altaf Stationwala, President and CEO. “The implementation of the new EMR supports this vision and will influence how we care for our patients at Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital, at the new Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital and at the health system level.”

The new EMR brings a number of benefits to patients, including a faster and more efficient registration process. Similar to the airport check-in process, patients who have scheduled appointments at Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital can now input their health card number on a Self-Serve Registration Kiosk, follow the simple instructions on screen, get an armband from a Patient Assistance representative and proceed to their appointment.

Registration for an appointment is even faster for patients who completed E Check-In through Mackenzie Health’s new and improved MyChart. If patients are signed up for MyChart, they can register for their appointment up to seven days prior and receive a barcode that they can scan at the hospital to indicate that they have arrived, get an armband and proceed to their appointment. MyChart is also available as an app, for a better mobile-friendly experience.

In MyChart, patients can see their personal health information, view and cancel appointments and, in select areas, communicate with their care provider via written message. The patients’ health records are also available to all those involved in their care, meaning that the entire care team has access to the same information and patients spend less time repeating questions or duplicating tests.

“The launch of the new electronic medical record is one of the largest transformational projects in Mackenzie Health’s history and puts us at the forefront of care delivery,” said Dr. Steven Jackson, Chief of Staff, Mackenzie Health. “Over the past two years, our staff, physicians and volunteers have been working together as a team to ensure this journey is a success, and we are proud to be the first hospital in Canada to implement the end-to-end Epic system.”

With computers available by the patients’ bedside, nurses and physicians have access to real-time, integrated clinical information about patients, can document the care in real-time, as well as send orders directly to lab and pharmacy. The new EMR also increases medication safety and reduces the chance for errors with closed loop medication administration and bar code validation at patient’s bedside. Additional patient-centred benefits for staff, physicians and other clinicians include:

  • Opportunity to spend more time with patients providing direct care
  • Clinical and best-practice alerts for clinicians
  • Education tools and resource manuals available online
  • Support the delivery of excellent patient care with nursing/patient discussion and documentation at the patient’s bedside

Epic, the software developer for the system, is recognized as a world leader in medical records and information technology which has implemented its systems in thousands of hospitals worldwide and will be implementing them in several Canadian hospitals over the next few years.

“As Epic’s first enterprise community member in Canada, Mackenzie Health continues their commitment to delivering high quality, compassionate and timely care with this milestone,” says Judy Faulkner, CEO, Epic. “Through these new tools and resources, Mackenzie Health can now expand their ability to provide patient-centered and community-based medicine for York Region and beyond. We look forward to a long and successful relationship as we work toward our shared goal of helping people get well, helping people stay well, and helping future generations be healthier.”

More about the EMR Implementation

The journey to the new EMR was a two-year process that involved significant software build, consultation with Mackenzie Health staff and physicians, testing and education.

Two weeks prior to the launch, over 100 Mackenzie Health staff transitioned over 15,000 scheduled appointments, including for  X-Rays, MRIs and other medical imaging tests, dialysis and cardio-vascular rehabilitation,  into the new Epic EMR.

Over 1,500 scheduled surgeries and ambulatory procedures were also converted from the legacy system to the new Epic EMR. More than 50 trained secretaries from physicians’ offices spent over four days to converting the appointments. With this transition, physician offices can now manage their provincial wait times and their procedure schedules in one place.

In preparation for the EMR launch, a multidisciplinary team involving registration, nursing, pharmacists and more made sure all admitted patients were captured within Epic on July 7. This enabled the team to continue to provide the best care once the new EMR was launched on July 8. The process involved more than 70 people working together for over 20 hours.

To ensure staff, physicians and volunteers are well supported during the transition, a technical Command Centre staffed by approximately 90 staff members and an Operations Support Centre that oversaw clinical operations and coordinated the 265 additional support staff deployed across the organization, all working 24/7, have been instrumental for the go-live.

For more information, please visit www.mackenziehealth.ca/emr.