When treating patients requiring mental healthcare, caregivers need compassion, understanding and quick, complete and accurate access to previous treatment and health records.“Time is of the essence,” says Thomas Jones, Manager of the Mental Health Program at Mackenzie Health. He knows that medical decisions on how best to treat a patient need must be made quickly and correctly. If a patient comes into the hospital in need of urgent mental health care, having the most up-to-date information can help staff make clear and informed care decisions.
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Until this past July, staff treating mental health patients in the Emergency Department and other outpatient clinics faced a number of challenges in accessing patient histories in an efficient and timely manner, Mr. Jones says.
“Up until that time, if a patient came to the Emergency Department in crisis, his or her complete mental health record was not always readily available,” he says.
To overcome these challenges, Mackenzie Health in Richmond Hill, Ontario and Southlake Regional Health Centre in nearby Newmarket, collaborated to improve care for patients seeking mental health services at the hospitals with a new Ambulatory Electronic Mental Health Record (AEMHR). This software, provided by B Sharp Technologies and McKesson Canada is enabling the hospitals to create, view and update existing mental health records for patients in real time, providing instant access to previous records and better coordination and integration of care for adult mental health encounters.
With funding from Canada Health Infoway, the system gives mental health professionals from both facilities secure access to their patients’ entire inpatient and outpatient encounter history within their hospital network, providing seamless mental health care across the entire organization.
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The new AEMHR is improving access to information for more than 200 clinicians resulting in improved care for thousands of patients at Mackenzie Health and Southlake. The system went live at Mackenzie Health in July 2013 and Southlake Regional Health Centre in November 2013 providing enhanced care for patients who visit outpatient clinics and improve safety for those receiving prescriptions for mental health.
In addition, as part of this project, patient assessments are being sent to the provincial Integrated Assessment Record (IAR) Portal using the B Care Mental Health Solution, so other authorized clinicians involved in patient care can access appropriate information to optimize care coordination and treatment.
With this innovative approach, Mackenzie Health and Southlake are working together to help simplify the journey that many mental health patients face by creating a comprehensive record that more effectively communicates their story, in the event the patient cannot.