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Laboratory IT

E-checklists for pathology enhance patient safety

THUNDER BAY, Ont. – The Pathology Team of Regional Cancer Care and Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC) has become the first in Canada to fully implement an innovative, synoptic reporting initiative that sees pathologists and oncologists working with standard electronic reports when diagnosing cancer.

Using special software, pathologists can quickly and easily enter lab results into electronic checklists. The “synoptic” or standard checklists enhance patient safety by minimizing the risk for incomplete reports or confusion regarding results. The simple and efficient process also helps reduce diagnostic wait times. As a result, oncologists have quick access to thorough, consistent reports in creating the best possible treatment plan for patients.

“We’re proud of Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre’s leadership for implementing this important initiative,” said Terrence Sullivan (pictured), CEO and President, Cancer Care Ontario. “These new standards will help to make sure that patients receive the best quality care every step of the way.”

“Our team deserves great credit for implementing these new reporting standards with enthusiasm and excitement, a demonstration of their dedication to our cancer patients in Northwestern Ontario. We are proud to be Canadian leaders in this regard. Ultimately this is about strengthening our program to provide the best possible cancer care for residents of Northwestern Ontario,” said Michael Power, Vice President of Regional Cancer Services and Diagnostics, TBRHSC

“Synoptic” refers to gathering data in a structured, standardized format and layout with a pre-specified choice of responses. The checklists have a consistent format and layout and pathologists choose from specific responses when creating the report. TBRHSC was one of the first hospitals in Ontario to implement synoptic reporting, using a software tool called mTuitive.

“The mTuitive program has been a valuable tool recently added to our pathology practice,” said Dr. Joseph Wasielewski, Chief of Pathology and Medical Director of the TBRHSC lab. “It allows us to report on cancer parameters in the most up to date and standardized way, which in turn helps facilitate appropriate patient management and foster a team-based approach to cancer care.”

“We are honoured to be working with such innovative and dedicated professionals in Thunder Bay,” said Mike Valentine, mTuitive Vice President of North American Sales. “Their commitment to patient safety and patient care has become a model of excellence throughout the province of Ontario and will extend to other provinces across Canada.”

The Northern Cancer Fund of the Health Sciences Foundation provided a $270,000 grant to support the mTuitive program. “Our region is leading the nation in cancer care, because initiatives like mTuitive are pursued and then supported by donations from the community,” said Glenn Craig, President and CEO of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation. “When people give to help arm healthcare providers with the best tools, they advance the fight against cancer in Northwestern Ontario.”