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Electronic health records

eCHN celebrates 10 years of EHRs for kids

TORONTO – The electronic Child Health Network (eCHN), together with Ontario Minster of Health and Long-Term Care David Caplan and representatives from The Hospital for Sick Children, recently celebrated the 10-year anniversary of eCHN, Canada’s first province-wide integrated electronic patient record system.

Pictured above, from left: Dr. Alan Hudak, Paediatrician, Orillia Soldiers' Memorial Hospital; David Caplan, Minister of Health and Long Term Care; Mary Jo Haddad, President and CEO, The Hospital for Sick Children; Andrew Szende, CEO, eCHN. (Photo courtesy of Robert Teteruck and the Hospital for Sick Children.)

eCHN enables authorized healthcare providers across Ontario to access the latest medical data, including lab reports, clinic notes, surgical and radiology images and reports about a child instantly, from different sources, in the consolidated form of a single medical chart.

“Congratulations to all who have made eCHN such a success,” said David Caplan, Ontario’s Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. “This initiative demonstrates that the McGuinty government’s vision of eHealth, providing better care to all Ontarians, is a growing reality.”

“eCHN is a shining example of how modern technology offers great new opportunities that we’re using to benefit children’s health,” said Mary Jo Haddad, President and CEO, The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids). “Ten years ago, we had a vision to improve the delivery of paediatric healthcare in this province. At the time nothing like it existed. We were pioneers then, and this innovative, collaborative spirit continues to this day. Providing electronic access of health records to facilities across Ontario, eCHN is a leader in the electronic health record field,”

“Over the last 10 years, eCHN has grown organically in the way physicians, therapists and nurses felt it was most useful. As more healthcare practitioners continue to adopt the system, we look forward to the day when every person can have their own electronic medical chart,” said Andrew Szende, President and CEO, eCHN.

“Children who are sick often have to travel back and forth to various locations to get the treatment they need. eCHN provides timely data flow in real-time to optimally provide coordinated care between hospitals and the offices of doctors,” said Dr. Alan Hudak, a paediatrician with Orillia Solders’ Memorial Hospital.

Who uses eCHN
eCHN is available for use by any hospitals, healthcare facilities and authorized individual healthcare practitioners involved in a patient’s “circle of care.”

What does eCHN do?
eCHN is a production system that pulls together millions of records from patients’ interactions with the healthcare system to present an accurate patient health record. eCHN shows such key domains of patient information as:

• laboratory results and reports
• admission, discharge and transfer data
• clinic notes
• radiology images and reports
• consultants’ letters
• surgical notes
• scanned documents
• medication administration reports

These are integrated in an easy-to-use web format that duplicates an actual medical chart. eCHN clinical data repositories capture the records of more than one million Ontario children and over five million patient visits.

Membership in eCHN
eCHN extends into every region of Ontario and encompasses more than 100 hospital sites, including six of Ontario’s tertiary care centres. In addition, member sites include Community Care Access Centres (CCAC’s), Children’s Treatment Centres (CTC’s), independent medical clinics and the offices of individual paediatricians and family physicians. Users also include other accredited health professionals such as nurses, technicians, and therapists who require access to patient information to deliver effective care.

Benefits of eCHN

• Provides healthcare providers across the province with access to accurate, up-to-date patient information whenever it is needed.
• Reduces the need for patients to travel and allows them to receive more of their healthcare closer to home.
• Enables healthcare providers to make more informed diagnosis and treatment decisions, especially in emergency situations.
• Assists in the management of chronic conditions and diseases.
• Reduces the chances of records being illegible, lost, or unavailable.
• Makes it possible to substantially improve the continuity and coordination of patient care, across the entire spectrum of healthcare delivery sites, including those in remote locations.
• Reduces the need for repeat diagnostic testing of patients, such as blood tests and X-rays.
• Enables healthcare practitioners to provide faster, more efficient care due to reduced need for locating patient data from other facilities.
• Builds the foundation for a population-wide electronic health record.

eCHN Privacy Policies

• eCHN is committed to protecting the privacy of patients’ personal health information and operates with the highest level of security safeguards in place:
• eCHN obtains the consent of each child’s parent or guardian before any patient information is retained on the data base.
• eCHN data are encrypted and travel through a private network, not the Internet.
• Only authorized healthcare professionals involved in a specific child’s “circle of care” can gain access to the patient’s chart.
• A rigorous audit system keeps track of everyone who signs in to look at patient data.
• Data use is restricted to diagnosis, treatment and monitoring the care of pediatric patients. eCHN is not available to any government or insurance organization and is not used for research purposes.

eCHN’s security policies have been reviewed and approved by the Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner, but are regularly subjected to internal review. The confidentiality of patient health data is such a high priority that eCHN was the first organization of its kind to appoint its own Privacy Officer.

About eCHN
Operating since 1999, eCHN (electronic Child Health Network) is a provincial government-funded organization dedicated to providing electronic solutions that permit the sharing of healthcare information among authorized healthcare providers. eCHN was Canada’s first integrated electronic health record solution and is currently the largest province-wide network of its kind in Canada. eCHN extends into all regions of Ontario with 100 hospital sites, including six tertiary care centres and captures the records of more than one million Ontario children and over five million patient visits.

About The Hospital for Sick Children
The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), affiliated with the University of Toronto, is Canada’s most research-intensive hospital and the largest centre dedicated to improving children’s health in the country. As innovators in child health, SickKids improves the health of children by integrating care, research and teaching. Its mission is to provide the best in complex and specialized care by creating scientific and clinical advancements, sharing our knowledge and expertise and championing the development of an accessible, comprehensive and sustainable child health system. For more information, please visit SickKids is committed to healthier children for a better world.