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Patient safety

NYGH introduces electronic ordering, barcoding

TORONTO – Patient safety at North York General Hospital has received a major boost from the launch of technology that’s expected to reduce medication errors and provide clinical staff with the latest evidence-based information.

Dubbed ‘eCare’, the initiative leaves behind manual systems that are vulnerable to errors and summarizes mountains of medical literature for healthcare providers, all to benefit patients.

The new system includes barcode scanning to uniquely identify each medication and each patient. This will reduce the risk for medication errors by alerting healthcare providers if they are about to make an error when administering a medication.

“A significant proportion of preventable errors involve medications prescribed and administered using traditional, manual systems,” says Dr. Jeremy Theal, Director of Medical Informatics and a gastroenterologist at North York General Hospital. “By integrating the latest medical literature and implementing barcode scanning with electronic orders, we are raising the bar on patient care and preventing errors to significantly improve patient safety.”

With this new technology, the hospital becomes the first in Ontario to achieve HIMSS Stage 5. The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) is a US-based advocacy group that developed a seven-level system to indicate how hospitals rate in adopting electronic health records.

A key feature of ‘eCare’ is the computerized provider order entry (CPOE) which allows physicians to enter their orders electronically instead of on paper, reducing the possibility for misinterpretation and increasing information-sharing among healthcare providers.

The CPOE solution, provided in partnership with Cerner Corporation, incorporates the latest medical knowledge into the clinicians’ workflow, including clinical decision support and a library of over 300 evidence-based order sets developed in collaboration with Zynx Health.

According to the partners, North York General Hospital is the first hospital in Canada to implement an electronic order entry system that integrates regularly-updated evidence from the medical literature into the doctor’s decision-making process.

“This hospital-driven initiative is the result of outstanding teamwork involving informatics personnel, nurses, pharmacists, physicians, dietitians, physiotherapists and more,” says Dr. Tim Rutledge, Interim President and CEO at North York General Hospital. “The tremendous efforts of all involved will ultimately benefit our patients. eCare is a significant step forward in patient safety, quality of care and achieving a paperless medical record.”

“We congratulate North York General Hospital for being the first hospital in Canada to offer evidence-based clinical decision support as integrated into their hospital electronic health record system,” says Kimberly Denney, Vice President of International at Zynx Health. “As their partner in bringing the evidence to the bedside, we will support North York General as they continue to show improvements in clinical outcomes and enhance overall quality of patient care.”

Introducing ‘eCare’ has been possible through the support of many dedicated partners including Cerner, Zynx Health, Dell, IBM, Motorola and Rubbermaid.

Posted December 2, 2010