KAWARTHA LAKES – As the community is expected to grow, Ross Memorial Hospital will be implementing Epic, an innovative, paperless technology in December. Hospital staff recently requested financial help from the City of Kawartha Lakes.
According to Erin Coons, CEO, Ross Memorial Hospital Foundation, the hospital and the hospital foundation, is requesting approximately 7.5 million dollars from the city which is 40 per cent of the project, paid over a five-year term.
“We would love to continue that conversation during budget deliberations, but as an example, 19 years ago, the city supported the capital expansion with 40 per cent of the local share and 40 per cent of this project would be 7.5 million dollars,” she said. “We can achieve so much more with the city’s involvement, support from the city will inspire others to give and because provincial funding doesn’t cover costs of new and replacement equipment and technology, hospitals and municipalities are working together to deliver critical projects that meet the needs of their communities. Municipal support is increasingly common, funding healthcare projects that are critical to the community.”
According to Coons, approximately 68 per cent of campaigns across the province include municipal support and municipalities are funding between ten to fifty percent of project costs.
“Municipal funding stimulates community giving and it shows confidence to the community,” she continued. “Given that our population is rapidly expanding and that we need to remain competitive with other cities who are investing in their local hospitals. The pandemic has shown the urgency of accelerating both technology and other tools for more connected health care in the City of Kawartha Lakes and within the region. We respectfully request financial support for upcoming 2022 budget deliberations.”
According to Kelly Isfan, President and CEO of The Ross Memorial Hospital, RMH, the implementation of Epic, a new, digital clinical information system is expected to improve the patient experience while helping the hospital to attract and retain valuable health care workers, as the competition for trained health care professionals is now fiercer than ever, she said.
“As young people come out of school, no one is interested in working in a paper-based environment anymore, so to keep attracting people, we need tools like Epic,” she said. “All things will be integrated seamlessly with this clinical system so things are uploaded to epic in real-time, no more chasing as paper chart, everything will be integrated seamlessly with the Epic information system”
The RMH along with six other hospital organizations, representing 14 hospitals in Ontario’s central east region, are partnering to deliver the new, digital clinical information system, CIS, and once implemented, each of the 1.5 million people in the central east region who receive hospital care will have a single, unified personal health record across the partner hospitals.
The new regional CIS means:
- One digital record for each patient across seven hospital organizations in the central east region
- Patient access to a user-friendly and secure portal called MyChart to view their health information and upcoming appointments
- Implementation of evidence-based best practices across the care continuum
- Timely access to information to support clinical decision-making, including test results, medication information and other essential health information
- Improvements in patient safety features, including barcode identity validation at the patient’s bedside
- Less duplication and more efficient processes, contributing to a more sustainable health system
The six partner hospital organizations joining Ross Memorial Hospital in this major health care initiative are: Campbellford Memorial Hospital, Haliburton Highlands Health Services, Lakeridge Health, Northumberland Hills Hospital, Peterborough Regional Health Centre, and Scarborough Health Network. This collaboration represents the largest number of individual organizations joining together on Epic in Ontario.
“The launch of Epic is the largest clinical transformational project in Ross Memorial’s history. Implementation of the Epic CIS will streamline the ability for our patients and health professionals to communicate with one another, allowing for even more precise decisions about each individual’s treatment and care,” said Isfan. “Ross Memorial is excited to be part of this historic regional partnership as it will allow for patients and their entire care team to have real-time access to each patient’s health information in one place throughout their transitions between organizations and services. This initiative is going to transform the way health care is delivered in our Kawartha Lakes community and the entire region.”
All of council was in favour of discussing funding for the hospital during upcoming 2022 budget deliberations. A motion was unanimously passed.
“I certainly look forward to the debate this fall, and I know the Ross is a very important part of our community,” said Deputy Mayor Pat O’Reilly. “We have to keep our technology in line with what is happening across the province. I look forward to the debate.”
According to Dr. Andrew Knox, Chief of Anaesthesia, Epic Physician Lead, Ross Memorial Hospital, this advancement in the hospital’s technology is monumental.
“The implementation of the Epic CIS is the most significant change at the hospital in decades. It impacts how doctors provide care in the modern healthcare setting and especially how they share information through each patient’s electronic medical record. Imagine every aspect of a patient’s care together in one place, updated in real-time. This is the world’s best information system. It will transform patient care,” he said.