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Electronic solutions

Chyma tool adopted by a leading Toronto hospital

TORONTO – Emergency physicians at St Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, which is affiliated with the University of Toronto, have opted to deploy a scheduling and communications solution from Chyma Systems.

Chyma’s web-based portal is said to improve the ability to locate doctors on-call. This feature also provides the communications infrastructure necessary for better pandemic preparedness.

In the fast-paced healthcare environment, communication is vitally important. Missed shifts or double-bookings increase stress loads on doctors who are already working hard to efficiently handle an aging population with growing health concerns. Improved efficiency in administration means physicians are able to spend more time directly with patients, and cut wait times.

Across Canada, over 13,000 doctors in clinics and hospitals are already up and running and familiar with Chyma’s intuitive browser functions. When an emergency strikes, personnel can be located without delay. Emergencies are not the time to wonder how to locate more personnel – systems need to be in place well in advance.

According to the company, Chyma’s shift management and scheduler handles every aspect of communications, from shift management and shift trading, to messaging, managing contact databases, scheduling events, document storage, and participation in discussion forums. There is a module to store video and audio files or any type of interactive media. Chyma has also developed a friendly shift trade feature that will send messages to a BlackBerry or Pocket PC. Shift trade messages will soon be available on cell phones.

Since Chyma is an on-line portal, scheduling and communications are not restricted to one administrator’s desk – who faces the daunting task of updating paper trails from changing shift schedules. On-line” means schedules can be easily accessed any where at any time. Improving access to doctors, who may travel to cover shifts at several facilities, helps prevent lost time in seeing patients and helps ensure emergency personnel are available when you need them.

In a city-wide strategy, Sault Ste Marie Hospital (SSMH) became a model for state-of-the-art healthcare by developing a comprehensive communications plan for staff and administration around the Chyma portal. Beta-testing the latest electronic technologies has enabled SSMH to digitize libraries, policies, procedures, phonebooks, physician on-call schedules, job postings, a CEO suggestion hotline, newsletters, volunteer logs, calendars of meetings and events, and provide audit trails to ensure accountability.

The Sault area has very few primary care physicians, placing a heavy demand on hospital services. Julian Piwowarski, SSMH’s Manager of Information and Communications Technology (ICT), explains that common resource utilization has enabled physicians to keep abreast of their own schedules and the latest forms and policies, all of which are accessible from anywhere through their own intranet. Nearly 2,000 users share a comprehensive one-stop platform, including the police and coroner’s office, who asked to be included to improve their own accessibility.

SSMH’s primary crisis was their need to improve on-call schedules by reducing the constant faxes and calls to locate a doctor. “We can find any staff member easily now with one centralized electronic telephone directory,” says Piwowarski. “Before we had 500 telephone books everywhere, and none were up-to-date. Handwritten changes were updated annually, but were out-dated again before printing.”

Piwowarski explains how policies and procedures were as outdated as phone books. Physicians wanting the latest medical journal, reference manuals, or help desk, no longer run to the library – they now have a comprehensive electronic library. Pharmacy compendiums are also available online.

“Chyma is growing beyond our wildest expectations,” says Piwowarski. “This software brought us forward in time, and we were happy to play a role in Chyma’s development.”

Chyma Systems is an on-line, real-time portal developed by Sudbury physician Dennis Reich. Chyma (pronounced “K-eye-ma”) is owned by Montreal-based IsaiX Technologies, which focuses on communications, marketing, and training in the life-sciences and financial sectors.