The following release appeared a day or so on my e-health alert system:
BRAMPTON, Ont. - When the first patients walk through the doors of the new Brampton Civic Hospital in a couple of weeks, they will be entering a centre like no other in Canada - but one that will increasingly become the standard for health-care delivery across the country.
From check-in and lab tests to bedside care and drug dispensing, the $550-million institution that makes up one part of the three-hospital William Osler Health Centre northwest of Toronto is a model of electronic health - or e-health, as it's been dubbed.
Checking in or coming for a test? Electronic kiosks will allow patients to register with a swipe of their health cards, get a map directing them to the correct department and provide the service in eight languages, from English and French to Italian and Hindi. At a nearby "fast-lane" desk, a clerk will check photo identification and issue a hospital bracelet that next year will include a scannable bar code.
Going the way of the dust bin are paper records: all patient information will be logged onto computer, including blood test results and digitized X-rays and other images, which can be called up by authorized clerks, nurses and physicians anywhere in the hospital with the click of a mouse.
The hospital is completely wireless. Computerized monitors at the bedside record a patient's vital signs and allow treatment information to be added by nurses on the spot. And those real-time recordings will be accessible through hand-held devices carried by health providers that permit them to monitor changes, respond to emergency codes or just answer a patient's call for assistance.
"Innovative technology supports our health centre's objectives to increase efficiency, realize savings and focus on patient care," says Judy Middleton, chief information officer for the 479-bed hospital. "It is transforming the future of health-care provision and management."
Even drug dispensing will be computer-controlled. In the basement of the sprawling complex, a monster "drug robot" called PillPick electronically packages prescriptions in sealed baggies, which are then delivered to nursing stations and mobile medication cabinets, called MedCOWS. Each bag is specially ordered for an individual patient for a 24-hour period.
Carol Dueck, a nurse and consultant on the project, says PillPick does not dispense controlled substances such as narcotics, which are kept and packaged elsewhere in the building under strict security measures to ensure they don't go astray.
What PillPick does offer "is 99.9 per cent accuracy in delivery" of prescriptions, says Dueck, noting that the system was chosen because of its high patient safety profile. "It will ensure the right patient is getting the right pill at the right time."
Richard Alvarez, president and CEO of Canada Health Infoway Inc., says Brampton Civic represents the latest addition in a movement towards making e-health a reality across the Canadian medical system.
It's an evolution in Canadian health care that is long overdue, says Alvarez, whose federally funded, non-profit organization is working with provinces and territories to invest in electronic health projects.
"The one big issue is that while technology has really touched all our lives and very many aspects of our lives for the better . . . it's been absolutely absent in health care and it is really time to play catch-up."
Alvarez says Canadians can go to automated teller machines almost anywhere in the world - including "a little village in India" - and access their bank accounts. By contrast, Canadian health-care delivery is stuck in the medical Dark Ages.
Do continue reading here (there is a good deal more):
This is really great to see. Here we have a brand new hospital being commissioned with technology to make it both safe and efficient right from the beginning. Clearly the process to get all this up and running – given the range and scope of what is being done will be a challenge! The good thing will be that the need for change management will be minimised as the staff will start – from day one - with new systems and new ways of working.
Wouldn’t it be good to see the struggling Royal North Shore Hospital (RNSH) – in Sydney – be offered a clean start in its new facilities (which are being planned right now) of this sort. I am sure that would be one sign that the hospital was not being discriminated against because of the apparent wealth of its potential patient base.
As someone who spent over a decade of my working life at RNSH I am deeply saddened by all that has gone on there in recent times. I know for certain because I worked with many of them and even partially trained some of them) there are many dedicated and caring clinicians working there – and that they have been badly let down by a really deeply flawed and profoundly neglected system.
A pox on both Reba’s and Tony’s houses for letting it get to this!