Ontario Hospitals Collaborate to Expand Use of Electronic Medical Records

(Owen Sound, ON) -- Grey Bruce Health Services is leading a project with two Toronto hospitals to expand the use of electronic medical records (EMR) in ambulatory care clinics. GBHS, together with North York General Hospital and Toronto East General Hospital, received a $2.9 million investment from Canada Health Infoway to collaborate on this joint initiative.

Ambulatory care clinics within hospitals see a high volume of patients, and provide services that do not require an overnight stay – such as dialysis clinics, cardiac clinics, fracture clinics, and respiratory and pulmonary clinics.  

Across Ontario, most ambulatory clinics are largely paper based. As a result, when patients enter an ambulatory care clinic, clinicians currently need to consult the hospital in-patient system, as well as refer to paper charts from any previous ambulatory care visits. The goal of this initiative is to consolidate all the ambulatory patient information into one integrated electronic record.

Each hospital will select one or more ambulatory care service area and develop standardized modules for electronically entering patient information, scheduling appointments, ordering tests, and other common processes.

The development, testing and implementation of the modules will take between six and eight months and once complete, the hospitals will share the modules they have developed with the other sites and repeat the cycle, ultimately including 21 clinics across the three hospitals. This collaborative approach allows each hospital to save time and resources without duplicating their efforts.

This project will also connect the Ambulatory EMR systems to regional and provincial electronic health records systems such as the Ontario Laboratory Information System and local diagnostic imaging repositories so clinicians will have even more access to relevant and timely patient information.

Expanding the use of EMRs to more areas of the hospitals will give front-line staff real time access to patient records across a range disciplines. The end result is that health care providers will have better and easier access to their patients’ health information, and patients will get faster, more seamless care.


“By working collaboratively to create common processes for electronic medical records, we can move three times faster than if we developed each clinic module on our own,” said Maureen Solecki, President and CEO, Grey Bruce Health Services. “This is an excellent example of hospitals working together to avoid duplication and make clinic visits for patients a faster, less complicated experience.”

“Electronic medical records give front-line care providers the information they need, when they need it and that improves patient care” says Dr. Tim Rutledge, President and CEO, North York General Hospital.  “As a leader in the early adoption of health information technology, NYGH is proud to participate in a collaboration with other hospitals to share best practice for the benefit of patients in the three communities we serve.”

“This collaborative project will incorporate standardized templates and workflow that is specific to ambulatory care. There will also be integration with external data repositories such as Diagnostic Imaging and the Ontario Laboratory Information System results. When complete, there will be more timely and complete access to information for clinicians and their patients,” said Pegi Rappaport, Chief Information Officer, Toronto East General Hospital.

“Today’s announcement is about placing vital patient information in the hands of authorized clinicians when and where they need it,” said Richard Alvarez, President and CEO, Canada Health Infoway.  “Our investment in this project is part of a national effort to advance the use of health IT through the adoption of electronic medical records.” 


Media contacts:

Mary Margaret Crapper
Director, Communications & Public Relations
Grey Bruce Health Services
Tel: (519) 376-2121 ext. 2806
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Elizabeth McCarthy
Senior Communication Specialist
Corporate Communications and Public Affairs
North York General Hospital
Tel: (416) 756-6725
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Angela Pappaianni
Coordinator, Corporate Communications
Toronto East General Hospital
Tel: (416) 469-6019
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Karen Schmidt
Director, Corporate/Internal Communications
Canada Health Infoway
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