Success Stories

in Research and Patient Care

The power of innovation:
How technology transforms health care at The Ottawa Hospital

This is the story of how The Ottawa Hospital is harnessing the power of technology to transform health care.

TOH launched its five-year technology and innovation plan in 2009. The strides made by TOH in 2010 are now accelerating the pursuit of our goal to become one of North America’s top 10 per cent of hospitals in terms of quality and patient safety.

Here is a snapshot of the innovation that is enabling improvements to patient care at TOH:

PSLS: Putting patient safety first

TOH implemented the Patient Safety Learning System (PSLS) in April, 2010. PSLS is a simple and intuitive system that aims to find gaps in the reporting and review of adverse events. The goal of the PSLS is to strengthen TOH’s culture of quality and patient safety by encouraging timely, voluntary adverse event and incident reporting. PSLS allows TOH and its health-care professionals to meet this goal, making incident reporting simpler; by giving the team the tools to identify systemic problems more effectively; and by identifying best practices and lessons learned that the team can apply to avoid mistakes in the future.

“Our goal is to identify systemic problems that are putting patients at risk for harm, and then learn about those risks so we can develop strategies to prevent that harm,” says Dr. Alan Forster, Scientific Director of Clinical Quality and Performance Management. “No other organization that we’re aware of has built a system that contains the components that we have. We believe it will be a major breakthrough for patient safety.”

SIMs: Computerized charting, seamless flow of information

Used at every stage of the surgical process – from admission to anaesthesia, to surgery, to recovery – TOH’s Surgical Information Management System (SIMs) is a computerized charting and scheduling system that makes it possible for the care team to access a patient’s chart from virtually anywhere in the hospital.

This allows TOH to provide patients with smoother transitions of care, and more time with clinicians at the bedside. It also means we make better use of our valuable resources, improving management of the equipment supply chain.

By using the Smart Track Board (similar to an airport arrivals screen), staff can also determine, in real time, what stage of the surgical process a patient has reached to keep loved ones up-to-date.

Another bonus of the system is the insight it provides hospital researchers and clinicians through the data it collects.

“One of the biggest impacts for us is the ability to retrieve real time data,” says Joanna Schubert, Clinical Manager of the surgical suites at the General Campus. By analyzing data, care teams can find more efficiency in the surgical process.

SIMs is the only surgical system of its kind in Canada.

CPOE: Seamless order entries

Integrated with the iPad, TOH’s Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE) system makes it easy to retrieve information and order treatments online right at the bedside. Formerly a manual process that was riddled with paperwork, this new program removes all the manual steps. The result is faster turnaround on all the elements of care we provide for our patients.

“Wait times for examination appointments in the Department of Medical Imaging have always been a major challenge for The Ottawa Hospital,” explains Maryam Vafaei, Project Manager of the Prescription Information Management System and the Online Protocol Module for the Department of Medical Imaging. “This computerization has reduced protocoling time, which used to take 10 days, or even a few weeks, to two days, or even a few hours.”

iPads: Better access to patient information, better care

TOH recently ordered 1,800 iPads, in addition to the 500 already in use by our health-care providers. iPads enable TOH physicians to examine patient information, make legible notes, and relay important information back to patients, right at the bedside. This allows patients timelier responses to their questions, increases productivity, and decreases paperwork in the clinical environment.

“At The Ottawa Hospital, our vision is to provide our patients with the world-class care, exceptional service and compassion that we would want for our loved ones,” says Dale Potter, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer. “We have learned that using technology to optimize clinical processes and decision making empowers care givers to provide more effective patient care. Mobile devices provide information where needed, when needed, in real time”