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Hospital IT

OHA partners with HIMSS Analytics to collect data

TORONTO – The Ontario Hospital Association has partnered with HIMSS Analytics to expand the collection and dissemination of data on e-Health adoption in Ontario’s hospitals. Through this partnership, the OHA will soon begin collecting an inventory of e-Health applications and technologies that hospitals are using to support their clinical work.

By partnering with HIMSS Analytics, a subsidiary of the U.S.-based Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), the OHA is now able to offer Ontario hospitals the ability to benchmark their results against the thousands of American and Canadian hospitals already in the Analytics database.

For the OHA, the objective is to support hospital and health system realization of e-Health’s promise by increasing the transparency around specific applications and technologies that individual hospitals are choosing.

By doing so, the OHA believes hospitals, other providers and health systems will be in a better position to learn from the experiences and choices of others, identify opportunities for collaboration and have access to contextual information that will help with integration efforts.

In addition, the OHA sees this new partnership as an opportunity to reduce the high volume of surveys hospitals receive, oftentimes for very similar information. Whether for provincial projects like the Wait Time Information System or regional projects such as the implementation of a DI/PACS network, hospitals are frequently asked for information about what they are running at their sites.

By creating a single inventory, the OHA will serve as a central hub, collecting the information once to meet a wide range of stakeholder needs. Endorsed by the e-Health Program at the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (MOHLTC), and the Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) e-Health Leads Council, the creation of this inventory and the HIMSS partnership are seen as positive steps that will provide value to many local and provincial e-Health projects.

The partnership with HIMSS Analytics allows the information in the inventory to be leveraged for additional benefits by aligning the data set with the Analytics data base. HIMSS Analytics has been collecting similar information from U.S. hospitals for years and recently began collecting this information in Canada.

Through the partnership, Ontario hospitals that populate inventory will have access to over 50 reports that benchmark their e-Health adoption and corresponding resource commitment levels to similar hospitals in other jurisdictions.

Hospitals should know that the partnership will have little visible impact on the OHA’s traditional e-Health Adoption Survey, which has already been sent to hospitals. A unique link to the OHA’s annual e-Health Adoption Survey: Clinical Capabilities was sent to hospitals across Ontario on Thursday, July 3rd,2008. For the past three years, results from this survey have provided an understanding of what clinical functions and information sharing hospitals are performing with e-Health; these results have also helped inform OHA discussions with key decision makers about e-Health priorities for the provincial health care system. In addition, survey results have allowed hospitals to benchmark their e-Health adoption against their Ontario peers.

This year, the OHA has simplified the Clinical Capabilities Survey. Hospitals that participated last year have had their2007 responses populated into this year’s survey tool, requiring hospitals to simply confirm or update their answers.

This should drastically shorten the amount of time required to complete the survey. In other changes, the Order Entry section now includes distinct reporting for Order Entry and Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE) and the data gathered from the OHA’s Labour Market Survey e-Health Supplement will replace the section of the survey that touched on similar subject matter.

To make it easier for hospitals participating in the Clinical Capabilities Survey to use their results, the OHA created the Adoption Survey Interactive Results Tool, which provides hospitals with the opportunity to benchmark their level of e-Health adoption, identify their strengths and vulnerabilities in specific foundational e-Health areas, and learn who among their peers has made progress in certain areas.

And, as previously mentioned, the OHA is introducing a new survey, titled the e-Health Adoption Survey: Technologies and Applications. This survey, to be distributed to hospitals later this summer, will allow the OHA to begin to populate the technical inventory among hospitals. In particular, the Technologies and Applications Survey will collect information about e-Health hardware, software, networking, services, standards, and operation indicators associated with clinical applications across the province.

Given the success of the Adoption Survey over the past three years – last year’s participation rate for the Clinical Capabilities Survey was over 94% – and the increasingly prominent role of e-Health in Ontario, the OHA hopes that hospitals will fully participate again this year. The surveys are extremely useful in building on e-Health as the foundation of a modern, integrated, accessible, and sustainable health care system.