Innovation vital to the future of healthcare

By Sharon MacSween

As communities grow, age and healthcare needs increase, many hospitals are turning towards innovation to help improve and enhance the patient experience.

Digital health solutions are one way that Mackenzie Health is transforming the patient experience as part of its commitment to delivering world-class and compassionate care. Mackenzie Health, which includes Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital and the future Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital alongside its community-based locations, serves one of the fastest growing communities in Canada. This community is expected to grow by 25 per cent between 2012-2027.

For many patients, visiting the hospital can be a stressful and unfamiliar time. Keeping track of ongoing appointments, procedures and medical treatments may also intensify feelings of anxiety. With a focus on improving the patient experience and care delivery, Mackenzie Health undertook a major healthcare clinical transformation with the introduction of its new Epic electronic medical record (EMR) in mid-2017. Last month, Mackenzie Health was recognized for these efforts as the first Canadian acute care hospital with an emergency department and intensive care unit to receive Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model (EMRAM) Stage 7 designation.

From prevention of medication administration errors to ensuring complete health records are available to all clinicians, the designation signifies that Mackenzie Health has implemented a paperless environment through its EMR. It also represents the highest level of user adoption of digital health solutions that benefit the patient experience and care delivery.

The emergence of digital health technologies in partnership with healthcare staff, physicians and volunteers can make a meaningful impact to the patient experience. Patient safety is a key focus of Mackenzie Health which was recognized by Accreditation Canada in 2017 with its second consecutive award of Accreditation with Exemplary Standing.

“Patient feedback from the first year has been overwhelmingly positive,” says Diane Salois-Swallow, Chief Information Officer, Mackenzie Health. “We’re inspired by the potential of smart technology to further enhance the care experience for all patients and families, from the moment they enter our door.”

As part of Mackenzie Health’s year in review, these technologies are already showing a transformative impact. Highlights include:

  • Improved patient safety and prevention of errors: Technology-enabled bedside product administration helps ensure the right product is given to the right patient (greater than or equal to 95 per cent barcode medication administration, breast milk scanning and blood scanning).
  • Physician computerized ordering eliminates deciphering handwriting to help support clear, efficient ordering accuracy. Further, secure electronic documentation and viewing helps clinicians view all areas of a patient chart within 24 hours.
  • Integrated voice recognition with electronic documentation in the hospital helps maximize speed and efficiency.
  • Self-Serve Patient Registration Kiosks:Mackenzie Health’s new kiosks reduce registration time by more than 12 minutes, prevent the duplication of information entry and overall contribute to an improved and positive patient experience. With a strong 90 per cent check-in rate at the kiosks, Mackenzie Health’s novel approach pairs the technology with staff and volunteers to encourage patient familiarity, efficiency and utilization of the kiosks. Now, registration takes just 40 seconds and allows patients to get to their appointments faster. It also helps ensure that patients receive this optimal level of efficiency even as health needs increase in Mackenzie Health’s growing community.
  • Mackenzie Health MyChart: MyChart helps connect patients to their medical history and upcoming appointments to empower patients to manage their own care at their fingertips. More than 23,445 patients have signed up for MyChart since launching in 2017.

As Mackenzie Health looks to a ‘smart’ technology future both at its Richmond Hill hospital and the future Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital, it credits the success of its digital health innovation to partnerships between patients and families, staff, physicians and volunteers.

“We are proud of the positive impact that innovations have made on care delivery and the patient experience,” says Richard Tam, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, Mackenzie Health. “Implementation of digital technologies in healthcare should always serve a greater purpose – such as supporting a world-class health experience, enhancing patient safety or increasing patient engagement in their own health journey.”

Sharon MacSween is Director, Clinical Informatics Information, Communication and Automation Technology (ICAT) at Mackenzie Health.