HomeColumnsFrom the CEO's DeskUndergoing a digital transformation

Undergoing a digital transformation

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By Barb Collins

Paperless charts, sophisticated imaging, low cost genomics, robotics, mobility, wearables, the Internet of Things – this is all of the ‘stuff’ that healthcare has available to become ‘digital’.  Where lies the benefit in all of this? At Humber River Hospital we have deployed much of this ‘stuff’ to drive efficiency, quality and safety. We are undergoing a digital transformation to become a Highly Reliable Organization (HRO) that delivers world class care in a respectful and patient-first manner.

Humber River started its digital transformation in 2010, culminating the first phase of our metamorphosis with the opening of our new 656 bed hospital in October of 2015. We have lived the digital world for over a year and not only are we seeing value, but we have greater conviction to further our digital transformation.

We have moved to a fully electronic record, albeit that we are not completely “paperless” – that has yet to come. We have implemented many of the measures articulated in the HIMSS EMR Adoption Model, reflecting a Stage 6 capability. We have gone beyond the ‘digitizing’ concept and deployed solutions that drive true transformation. These are characterised by connecting the circle of care through closed loop communication and collaboration, driving effectiveness through actionable real-time data, and moving to an on-line world that empowers and enriches our patients.

Informing the right people at the right time with the right information is a foundation for driving better decision making and better care. At Humber River we connect people with people using smart phones, instant messaging, video calls and voice calls. This make for fast, efficient and reliable connection which significantly improves the immediacy of decision making and quality of care.

We leverage real time data from systems to inform and drive action.  By connecting systems to people and using closed loop concepts: you must accept and acknowledge; we ensure rapid response and action.  Our current solution is focused on meaningful events such as nurse calls, code calls, bed alarms, patient monitoring and special purpose alarms. All of these trigger response and action that drives efficiency, quality and a patient-first focus.

At Humber River we have deployed a patient portal, on-line check-in, and we are on our way to on-line registration, scheduling, and booking. The value of putting these services on-line is not in question: it empowers the patient, it reduces cost, and it increases efficiency of patient flow. But what is the real objective? We want our community to be connected to Humber.  We see the power of having a relationship with our patients and community before and beyond a visit.

Getting connected is not just about on-line transactions, but engaging in conversation. We continue to push technology and the power of social media to create awareness, to drive wellness and to help make better care management decisions

We are moving to the next phase of our metamorphosis and in pursuit of an HRO: we will drive better quality measures with real time dashboards to inform and influence behaviors. We will further increase efficiency and reduce LOS using real time analytics that inform organizational flow. We will improve care process and intervene in never events before they occur through predictive analytics and real time notification of patient status. We will connect the constellation of care providers from primary, to acute, to community and long-term care so that action is coordinated and smart decisions are made by those who are best to make them. Including the patient and the family in the collaboration allows care to be provided where it is most efficient for the patient to receive it.

The digital transformation Humber River has accomplished only occurs with a commitment to great patient care, inquiring minds and a willingness to join the journey. I remain ever grateful to our Board of Directors, Staff, Physicians, IT team and Partners who embraced the journey and continue to seek out new opportunities each day.

Barb Collins is President & CEO of Humber River Hospital.


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