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Health Sciences North moves to electronic medical record system in less than 2 weeks

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From paper and pen to tablets and computers, staff at Health Sciences North (HSN) in Greater Sudbury are preparing for what they say is one of the biggest changes to happen to the hospital in decades.

On June 4, 2024, Health Sciences North in Greater Sudbury will moves from paper to a shared electronic medical record system -- joining 26 other hospitals in the region. May 22, 2024. (Lyndsay Aelick/CTV News Northern Ontario)

“On June 4th, we're launching a new electronic medical record (EMR,)” said Dr. Tyler Christie, an emergency room physician at HSN.

“This is a big project that HSN has undertaken over the last few years and so when people come into the emergency department, they can expect the same great care that we've always delivered. But things are going to take a little bit more time for the first few weeks.”

Christie told CTV News that EMRs will mean up-to-date patient information in one secure spot and because 23 hospitals from across the region will have the same record system, sharing details will be even easier – making care delivery more efficient and reducing the need for repeat testing.

“I think by having access to a patient's health history from across the region at my fingertips is going to allow me to be able to provide a better level of care to that patient, in a more seamless experience through their care journey,” he said.

“They won't have to retell their stories as much.”

While the hospital will be moving away from paper-based charting and order entry they won’t be 100 per cent paperless.

“There are many aspects of, the care delivery system that still depend on paper,” said Kelli-Ann Lemieux, the hospital’s clinical lead on the EMR project and HSN’s Vice President of Surgical and Clinical Services.

“There will be some paper left certainly when you leave the hospital, you'll leave with your instructions on your discharge and other, paper-based, communication methods. But for the most part, we are moving to an electronic system.”

Some regional hospitals have already moved over to the EMR system

These 11 hospitals went live last week:

  • Anson General Hospital
  • Bingham Memorial Hospital
  • Blanche River Health
  • Hôpital Notre-Dame Hospital
  • Hornepayne Community Hospital
  • Lady Minto Hospital
  • Sensenbrenner Hospital
  • Smooth Rock Falls Hospital
  • Temiskaming Hospital
  • Timmins and District Hospital
  • Weeneebayko Area Health Authority

Nine more hospitals will switch to the electronic system on June 4, including HSN.

An undated photo of the exterior of Health Sciences North in Greater Sudbury, Ont. (File photo/Health Sciences North/Facebook)

Chapleau Health Services, Espanola Regional Hospital and Health Centre, Lady Dunn Health Centre, Manitoulin Health Centre, Mattawa Hospital, the North Shore Health Network, St. Joseph's General Hospital and West Nipissing General Hospital will all be part of the shared EMR system in less than two weeks.

“We've learned a lot from the centers that have gone before us,” said Lemieux.

“We are implementing changes based on their experience and the one message that we really want to send out to the community is, that when you come to Health Sciences North in the coming weeks, please have some patience and understanding for our teams as they learn this new system.”

Hospital officials said training for clinical teams began in January and launching the new electronic medical record system is an important outcome of being digitally enabled, one of the key goals in HSN’s strategic plan. 

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