box10.gif (1299 bytes)







Electronic health records

Chatham and Windsor create IT firm to serve both hospitals

CHATHAM, Ont. – Sharon Pfaff (pictured at left) has been appointed the first chief executive officer of Consolidated Health Information Services (CHIS), a company created to provide IS/IT services to Windsor Regional Hospital and Chatham-Kent Health Alliance, its two joint owners. She is also chief information officer at CKHA and WRH

Pfaff brings 20 years healthcare experience to this leadership position. She has management and administrative experience in a variety of clinical settings and became involved in information systems in 1998, when an integrated information system was being developed for the three hospitals of CKHA. Her role at that time was to implement the clinical systems for an electronic health record.

In 2001, Pfaff became director of the alliance’s Information & Telecommunications departments, advancing to chief information and privacy officer last year.

“I am pleased to step into this new, exciting role on behalf of both hospitals,” said Pfaff. “Together we have already realized gains in the IS/IT strategic plan and look forward to further opportunities to share infrastructure and knowledge.”

The services that CHIS will provide the two hospitals include:

• Advising on regional IT/IS strategies;
• IT/IS department management;
• Customer service;
• Implementation of hardware/software;
• Software support;
• Network management;
• Systems security, maintenance and disaster recovery;
• Staff education;
• Project management.

“By sharing IS systems and staff,” said Pfaff, “we can meet our vision of providing patients, staff, physicians and community partners with the right information at the right time, and in the right place, to support clinical and management decision-making within a patient focused environment.”

CHIS will also support development of a regional, electronic health record, an initiative that supports patient care by enhancing quality, safety, timeliness, efficiency and accountability by allowing rapid access to up-to-date information and real-time diagnostic reports for healthcare teams across the continuum of care.

Consolidated Health Information Services began operations on May 1, following approval by the boards of directors at both Chatham-Kent Health Alliance and Windsor Regional Hospital. Its own governing board includes equal representation from WRH and CKHA, with Ken Tremblay, president and CEO of the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance, serving as chairman.

The CHIS head office will be located in Chatham, Ontario. Its staff, located in both cities, comprises previous employees of CKHA and WRH IT/IS departments.

“This new corporation will position both organizations to improve clinical efficiency, optimize technology and reduce operating costs in IS/IT,” said Tremblay. “These are benefits that support our hospitals’ strategic directions and broader expectations of our healthcare consumers and funding bodies. As the Erie-St. Clair LHIN [Local Health Information Network, an initiative by the provincial government to create better communications and coordination among caregivers throughout Ontario] takes shape, we look forward to working with area colleagues to build an infrastructure for the Electronic Health Record.”

Martin Girash, president & CEO, Windsor Regional Hospital added, “This direction to plan and provide integrated services for the two organizations is in keeping with strategies of the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care to transform the healthcare system to be more patient-centred and responsive to local healthcare needs through Local Health Integrated Networks (LHINs). It also positions both hospitals to explore further cooperative efforts between the organizations to realize and optimize efficiencies, cost-savings and convergence of systems.”