North York General Hospital Advances Patient Safety with Health IT

(Toronto, ON) – North York General Hospital (NYGH) is leading an initiative that will help hospitals from across Canada implement technology that improves patient safety.

The project, which received a $1 million investment from Canada Health Infoway (Infoway), will leverage the investments that NYGH has already made in creating over 350 electronic order sets covering medicine, surgery and critical care, and will add an additional 250 order sets covering pediatrics, maternal/newborn, and mental health. These electronic order sets provide clinicians with up-to-date evidence, guidelines and treatment best practices with links to regularly-updated information from leading medical journals, helping to ensure patients receive the safest and best quality care. 

The funding will also support the development of the Canadian Computerized Provider Order Entry (CPOE) Toolkit to help hospitals and health care providers across the country implement CPOE by making NYGH’s order sets available for free.  CPOE eliminates the need for handwritten orders and prescriptions, reducing the opportunity for errors and enhancing communication between health care team members. 

 “I am delighted that Canada Health Infoway recognizes the leadership role NYGH plays in eHealth innovation,” said Tim Rutledge, president and CEO of NYGH. “This funding will allow us to advance our health information technology infrastructure for the benefit of our patients, while supporting other health care providers reach their full potential in CPOE for the benefit of their patients.”

“Research from Canada and around the world points to CPOE as a key enabler of patient safety gains,” said Richard Alvarez, president and CEO, Canada Health Infoway.  “We’re delighted to help North York General Hospital further their leading work in this area and share their hands-on experience with others.” 

Once the toolkit is developed, other hospitals will be able to add their order sets, saving health care providers the time and money it would take to develop their own.  Funding will also be used to report and evaluate physician adoption with following the order sets, the percentage of physicians using the order sets and patient outcomes.

“It is truly remarkable technology and has made major improvements in quality of patient care inside our hospital, and in the community we serve,” says Dr. Jeremy Theal, a gastroenterologist and director of Medical Informatics at North York General Hospital. “We hope that once implemented in other hospitals, CPOE will make the same major strides in patient safety as it did at NYGH.”

In October 2010, North York General Hospital launched the second phase of eCare, a multi-year collabora­tive project with CPOE as a key feature. It included several Canadian firsts for hospitals, such as integrating medical literature into physician workflow and averting adverse medication events using bar-code technology. Through the eCare initiative, NYGH became the only community academic hospital in Canada to receive a Stage 6 designation from HIMSS Analytics, the research arm of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS).

Since the launch of eCare phase two, all physicians from medical, surgical, critical and paediatric care areas have adopted CPOE with 94 per cent of all orders entered directly by physicians. The remaining six per cent of orders are comprised of verbal, phone and medical directives entered by other clinicians.

About North York General Hospital

North York General Hospital, affiliated with the University of Toronto, is one of Canada’s leading community academic hospitals. We offer our culturally diverse community a wide range of acute care, ambulatory and long-term care services across three sites.  The hospital embraces health by providing innovative and compassionate care for the whole family at every stage of life.

About Canada Health Infoway

Canada Health Infoway is an independent, not-for-profit organization funded by the federal government. Infoway jointly invests with every province and territory to accelerate the development and adoption of information and communications technology projects in Canada. Fully respecting patient confidentiality, these secure systems will provide clinicians and patients with the information they need to better support safe care decisions and manage their own health. Accessing this vital information quickly will help foster a more modern and sustainable health care system for all Canadians.


For more information, please contact:

Marcelo Gomez-Wiuckstern
Director of Communications
North York General Hospital
P: 416-756-6575
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Angela Jonsson
Chief of Staff and VP, Public Affairs
Canada Health Infoway
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