CHEO Has Glimpsed the Future; and It is Paperless

Federal Minister of Health Ambrose Marks Significant Milestone in Healthcare Innovation

(Ottawa, ON) – The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) today announced its innovation roadmap and the successful “go live” of the first phase of a fully integrated electronic health record – a massive undertaking necessitating, for example, the conversion of two million laboratory records and touching the practice of hundreds of clinicians. Minister of Health Rona Ambrose was on hand to review the project and celebrate this significant milestone.

The project is a central element of the CHEO next action plan – the hospital’s long-term plan to change the way healthcare is provided to children and youth in our region.  It will improve the patient experience, better connect care and put powerful new tools in the hands of our providers.

CHEO is building an “integrated” electronic health record – meaning that, once complete, all areas of the hospital will use the same technology for patient records, and essentially go paperless. This is a best practice which has been successfully implemented by such respected hospitals as Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins and The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.  

“It was great to see first-hand the progress that has been made in electronic health records here at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario,” said the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Federal Minister of Health. “What I have seen is proof of how innovation in technology can improve the delivery of healthcare for children and their families, like eight-year old Camryn who I met today.”

With all patient information stored securely in one place, CHEO’s care teams will have the information they need at their fingertips.  Test results, for instance, will be available more quickly – reducing the anxious moments a patient and their family might wait for a diagnosis.   CHEO will be able to share information with colleagues in the community faster, and better coordinate patient appointments to eliminate the multiple trips a family might have previously made to CHEO.

In its first phase, now up and running, CHEO has deployed the technology in its Laboratories and the first group of out-patient clinics. These big events will be followed by three more deployments over the next 12 months until all 80 of our clinics are part of our new Epic system. CHEO will then move on to the Emergency Department, pharmacy and inpatient units over the next three years.  Within the next 18 months, CHEO also plans to launch “My Chart”, an Internet portal for patients and families to access their own health information online. At a later date, they will be able to request appointments times that fit into their busy family schedules.

 “There is no question that Epic represents a change in the way we provide care at CHEO. Like most other hospitals, we’ve relied on paper charts and forms throughout our history,” said Alex Munter, President and Chief Executive Officer. “But there will be 70,000 more kids in our community 20 years from now than there are today – we need to continue to innovate to help kids and families be their healthiest.”

“As we worked on how to best use the technology in our unique setting, we’ve reviewed our workflows to improve our effectiveness as care providers,” said Dr. Jim King, CHEO’s Medical Director of Informatics. “We’ve also been able to identify opportunities to proactively enhance patient safety, and we’ll continue to look for more as we roll this out. Quality, compassionate care and patient safety must always be – and will always be – at the forefront.”

Canada Health Infoway has committed to contribute up to $2.8M (of CHEO’s overall project budget of $7.7M), to support the connection of ambulatory care settings to inpatient systems, as well as linkages with provincial and regional repositories (i.e., laboratory and clinical reports)

“Ensuring that health care teams at CHEO have secure electronic access to charts and tools that support patient care is critical to improving the patient experience,” said Richard Alvarez, President and CEO, Canada Health Infoway. “This is one of many examples of how federal funding is helping to provide better quality and access to care that results in more efficient delivery of health care for Canadians.” 

CHEO has selected Epic as the software vendor for its integrated electronic health record.  Epic is a technology company based focusing exclusively on the healthcare sector – providing software to respected hospitals and health systems around the world.


For more information:

Karen Schmidt
Director, Corporate/Internal Communications
Canada Health Infoway
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