HomeTopicsPatient CareWinning Rouge Valley proposal to help prioritize patients’ surgical procedures

Winning Rouge Valley proposal to help prioritize patients’ surgical procedures

An innovative computer program to prioritize surgical procedures at Rouge Valley Health System (RVHS) has earned the hospital a $10,000 grant from Cancer Care Ontario (CCO).

The winning proposal was submitted as part of CCO’s ‘The Operating Room’ competition, which was held during the organization’s Chief Information Officer (CIO) Day 2012, earlier this month. The contest provided an opportunity to submit an innovative information management or information technology solution addressing a health care need.

“Rouge Valley Health System’s computer program to prioritize surgical wait times for patients exemplifies how we’re evolving the way we use information technology and innovation to improve patient care, safety and access in Ontario,” says Rick Skinner, vice president and chief information officer, Cancer Care Ontario.

“This program will help to ensure that the right patient receives their treatment first,” says Dr. Jon Hummel, program chief, surgery at Rouge Valley Centenary, and a member of the RVHS proposal team. “It will help to address wait list issues, which is great for our patients and community.”

Prior to the final live competition, each submission was reviewed by the CCO selection committee. In the end, Rouge Valley was selected as one of only three hospitals to pitch their solution to a panel of judges at the CIO Day event. This winning proposal was selected by the panel and announced as the winner at the end of the event.

The idea was a collaborative effort by Rouge Valley’s chief information officer, Thodoros Topaloglou, and surgical program leadership of: Renate Ilse, program director, surgery, endoscopy and central processing; and Dr. Hummel.

They identified gaps in the way surgeries are currently booked and how this could be improved for patients. Currently it is the responsibility of a surgeon’s administrative assistant to schedule each patient’s surgery date. It’s quite a challenge, as the assistants need to balance surgeon availability, patient preference, operating room schedules and then apply the Ontario Wait Time priority system rules in order to determine which patient will be operated on first. Each Ontario hospital also has its own provincial wait time targets to meet for different surgical procedures. The current system doesn’t consistently manage how patients can be treated in the best order possible.

There hasn’t yet been a computer program designed to review all of this information and then determine the order in which a patient should be treated. That is what the Rouge Valley team has proposed.

“This product has so much potential. If it is successful, it will give patients better care and ensure that they get a fair booking time, and sooner,” explains Renate Ilse. “It ensures that we are booking people optimally, which will result in shorter wait times. Once this system is in place, it can be shared with other hospitals. And for Rouge Valley to have been the one to develop this improvement is an achievement that we can be very proud of.”

The $10,000 grant will be used to help design the new program, which will be used by Rouge Valley surgeons’ administrative assistants. The proposal team will return to showcase their invention during the CIO Day event next year.


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