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OR systems

Calgary hospitals add OR management to anesthesia software

Calgary Health Region, one of Canada's largest integrated health systems, has selected Picis CareSuite to automate more than 65 operating rooms (ORs) in four acute care hospitals and a number of satellite sites that serve an estimated 1.5 million residents, with referrals from Southern Alberta and Southeastern British Columbia.

This agreement extends a strong working relationship between Picis and the Region that was established in 2001 when the organization installed Picis' anesthesia information system. The CareSuite OR Manager module will integrate with CareSuite's anesthesia module to provide a continuous clinical record and total perioperative automation of the Region.

According to Picis, CareSuite's flexibility, ease-of-use and comprehensive features will also move the Region one step closer to its goal of providing an Electronic Health Record.

Mark Anderson, Calgary Health Region's Operating Room Information System (ORIS) manager and client project manager for the Picis project, identifies increased efficiency and stability of the whole environment as CareSuite benefits. "Through Picis' ability to integrate with existing computer systems and with the anesthesia module, the Region will realize greater efficiencies over a wide range of areas, including reduced case costing and duplicate data entry with the ultimate goal of improved patient care."

Despite its previous success with Picis solutions, Calgary Health Region conducted an independent search for the best OR management vendor. According to Tim Anderson, IT project manager for the Electronic Health Project at the Region, "One of the things we recognized as a strength of Picis was that the business process would drive the system rather than the system driving the business process."

This flexibility will enable them to design CareSuite's functionality around the Region's business process without a lot of vendor customizations. Calgary's unprecedented growth, increased demand for beds and services and the potential to expand up to 2 additional facilities and 85 operating rooms in the near future made product flexibility particularly important in areas such as surgical scheduling and reporting.

"One vital scheduling function for the region is managing the patient wait list (those waiting for surgery)," Skyla Lundgren, an operating room manager for the Region, explains. "With approximately 2,000 acute care beds in the Region, we need to track patients within sites, assess patient's risk for surgery and match resources to patients who are waiting in accordance with Alberta guidelines," she adds.

CareSuite OR Manager's multi-facility features, conflict checking and access to the electronic Master Patient Index will help reduce delays, eliminate redundant data entry during the scheduling process and promote a positive experience for the patient. In addition, intra-operative charting, which has been standardized manually throughout Calgary hospitals since 2000, will soon be available online throughout the Region using CareSuite OR Manager.

The Region plans to replace the existing OR system and install CareSuite OR Manager at Alberta Children's Hospital, Foothills Medical Centre, Peter Lougheed Centre and Rockyview General Hospital. CareSuite technology, which is live at all of these sites for anesthesia documentation, will be expanded to surgical scheduling, intraoperative charting, supply and preference card management and reporting. Additionally, the Region will install CareSuite SmarTrack for surgical patient tracking and Extelligence for advanced data analysis.

More information from Picis is available at