Nurses taking a leadership role in the adoption of communication and informations systems.

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Innovative Patient FlowTechnology at Southlake Captures Minister of Health’s Attention McKesson Performance Visibility project improves patient safety and flow

Jessica Reynolds
Corporate Communications Intern
Southlake Regional Health Centre

The increasing evolution of technology has continually demonstrated its value for improving quality outcomes in healthcare, and the McKesson Performance Visibility project at Southlake Regional Health Centre is no exception. Launched in 2012 in partnership with McKesson Canada, the project is helping the Newmarket, Ontario hospital make strides in their efforts to provide a valuable hospital experience for patients, and high profile officials are taking notice.

Through the use of electronic tracking boards throughout the hospital, the hospital’s health care teams receive a real-time snapshot of patient locations and their estimated time of discharge. This state-of-the-art project has reduced wait times in the Emergency Department in particular, and has also improved patient flow throughout the entire hospital.

In November 2012, Southlake’s McKesson Performance Visibility project was awarded the Innovation in the Adoption of Health Informatics Award, presented by COACH: Canada’s Health Informatics Association. This esteemed award recognizes an information technology project that has, through innovation and commitment, been successfully integrated into the health system at the community or regional level.

More recently, the project gained the attention of The Honourable Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. Minister Matthews visited Southlake this past June to see the system in action and personally congratulate the hospital on its accomplishment.

Helena Hutton, Vice President, Patient Services (left) reviews McKesson Performance Visibility Solution to Health Minister Deb Matthews, as Southlake President & CEO, Dr. Dave Williams, looks on.

“I'm thrilled about the successes that the team at Southlake has achieved in reducing wait times and improving quality for patients,” says Minister Matthews. “While there's always more work to be done, their results are part of the reason why Ontario has led Canada with the shortest wait times for 8 consecutive years. Improvements in patient flow also help to ensure that patients receive the right care, in the right place, at the right time – a key part of our government's Action Plan for Health Care.”

The electronic boards have proven to be beneficial to members of the health care team, particularly for those who do not have ready access to patient charts. Icons on the boards visibly classify patients who require infection control precautions and those at risk of falling. By being aware of this information, staff are able to take the necessary precautions to minimize risk of infection and fall-related injuries when interacting with patients. Combined with similar hospital initiatives, the McKesson system has contributed to a decrease in the number of falls that resulted in an injury at Southlake by 59% in the last year.

McKesson Performance Visibility Map of Southlake’s Musculoskeletal Unit.

The McKesson boards have also helped to raise awareness of the hospital’s hand hygiene compliance rate throughout the organization. Since 2011, Southlake has raised its corporate compliance hand hygiene rate from 69% to consistently above 90%, which has placed the hospital as a provincial leader in this measure and subsequently contributed to reducing the risk of spreading infections. Regular hand hygiene compliance alerts are posted on the McKesson boards so that staff, patients and visitors alike are aware of how the hospital is doing in this regard, increasing organizational transparency.

“The immediate communication of precautions, statuses and alerts has resulted in a streamlining of our processes and is creating a safer environment for our patients and staff,” says Dr. Dave Williams, Southlake President & CEO. “Every one of Southlake’s dedicated efforts to develop process and technological patient-flow innovations are stepping stones to helping us achieve our ultimate goal of safer, higher-quality care for our patients.”