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Electronic records

Electronic systems implemented at Lions Gate ER

NORTH VANCOUVER – The emergency department at Lions Gate Hospital has installed a new electronic charting system, thereby making obsolete the paper-based tracking of patients.

The new, paperless system will be beneficial to everyone who sets foot in the emergency department – whether they’re reporting to work, or presenting as a patient. Supplied by McKesson, it is the only electronic charting system of its kind within Vancouver Coastal Health.

As such, Lions Gate Hospital is widely regarded as a technological leader for its willingness to apply new IT solutions to improve day-to-day clinical operations. For patients, this is expected to result in faster access to care.

“When patients present at Lion’s Gate Hospital emergency department, and at emergency departments across the province, they expect and deserve high quality, timely care,” said West Vancouver-Capilano MLA Ralph Sultan. “Electronic charting is an efficient new tool that will help speed access to care.”

“Through the use of new technology and innovative practices, B.C.’s emergency departments are being modernized and improved to provide the highest quality of health care service possible,” added North Vancouver-Lonsdale MLA Katherine Whittred. “Since 2001, the Province, regional hospital districts and foundations have committed over $400 million to improve and expand more than 30 emergency departments across the province.”

The new electronic charting system is part of the larger Lions Gate Hospital emergency department renovation project, made possible by $15 million in funding from the Lions Gate Hospital Foundation.

“The community’s financial support of the Jim Pattison Emergency Centre has been nothing short of outstanding,” said Judy Savage, president of Lions Gate Hospital Foundation. “Lions Gate’s emergency department touches everyone in the community, and this new electronic charting system will ensure a continued high quality of care.”

Central to the new, paperless system are Computers on Wheels (COWs), which are fully mobile computer terminals that can be taken directly to a patient’s bedside. All care orders are entered directly into the COW by the attending emergency department physician or nurse.

Once entered, the orders are sent electronically to the lab and diagnostic imaging. Test results are sent directly back to the patient’s electronic chart.

Previously, a patient’s care orders were written on a chart and manually transcribed – a task that can consume as much as 40 percent of a nurse’s time. It’s expected the new electronic system will reduce that time by half.

“Keeping detailed paper charts is an important task that takes an incredible amount of time,” said Mary Ackenhusen, Lions Gate Hospital’s chief operating officer. “This new system will allow us to be more thorough in our record keeping while spending less time actually charting. Time we gain back from manually charting becomes time we can re-direct to patient care.”

For staff, electronic charting will improve clinical documentation and allow for greater communication among the many healthcare professionals who care for patients when they arrive at the emergency department for treatment. The new electronic charting system will also link a patient’s repeat visits to the emergency department, detailing such vital information as allergies and medication history.

And finally, when they leave the emergency department, patients will receive a print-out with discharge instructions, which has been proven to result in fewer follow-up calls to the emergency department, fewer patient complaints and increased patient satisfaction.

The introduction of paperless charting will improve the ability of emergency department staff to deliver patient-centred care. It will also enable all healthcare disciplines to make decisions regarding individual emergency department cases in an effective and efficient manner.

Vancouver Coastal Health is responsible for the delivery of $2.8 billion in community, hospital and residential care services to over one million people in communities from Richmond through Vancouver, the North Shore, Sunshine Coast, Sea to Sky corridor, Powell River, Bella Bella and Bella Coola.