An operative approach to health IT implementation

Information technology (IT) advancements in health care have presented many opportunities and challenges as clinical leaders seek the best road to wise and impactful investments that will have the greatest benefit to patient care. Whether it’s a large-scale electronic health record, or a specialty clinical information system, the ability to align operational and clinical objectives is no easy feat.

These complexities were top of mind when The Scarborough Hospital (TSH) implemented a new perioperative IT solution for the hospital’s operating rooms (ORs) in 2013. This project was part of the organization’s ongoing commitment to support quality improvement initiatives and increase the use of LEAN health care processes.


Our goal was to choose the best perioperative IT solution that would help us improve performance and reduce our supply and equipment costs. With 12 OR suites, eight procedure rooms, plus an eye centre with two ORs, all spanning the hospital’s two campuses, implementation of this new solution did not come without its share of challenges.

Critical to the selection process was the ability of any new perioperative IT solution to interface with both TSH’s MEDITECH electronic health record and Novari patient access systems. Following a comprehensive Request for Proposal process, TSH chose Surgical Information Systems (SIS) as their perioperative IT solution. SIS was chosen for its ability to satisfy both the hospital’s clinical objectives, as well as how easily it could interface with our existing IT systems.

Features such as intelligent surgical scheduling, nursing documentation automation, perioperative-focused analytics, training programs, and in-room and mobile communications, allowed us to enhance the overall quality of our OR operations.


The Surgery program devised an accelerated plan to implement the SIS system within six months. This included a core team of three staff members working alongside educators. Computer training rooms were set aside to educate nurses on the new standardized workflows. This strategy eased the transition process and hastened adoption of the new system.

Capturing data and viewing dynamic, near real-time dashboards enabled TSH to improve purchasing decisions, better manage room blocking and utilization, and increase productivity. Within the first year of implementation, TSH increased the number of early or on-time surgery completions by 35 per cent and increased room turnovers completed in less than five minutes by almost 150 per cent.

Staff are now able to identify key areas of process improvement on an ongoing basis by having data at their fingertips. The thoughtful, strategic deployment of the SIS perioperative IT solution allowed TSH to be more efficient, as well as improve the care experience for patients and families.