They say the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. In Eastern Ontario, Rideau Community Health Services is focused on putting the pieces in place to help people improve their health and well-being, and create safe, happy and healthy communities.
The not-for-profit, interdisciplinary group consists of primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, dietitians, social workers, diabetes educators and more. They offer outreach programs, and are actively engaged in community initiatives for societal changes such as pressuring advertisers to stop promoting tobacco use.
In February 2019, Rideau Community Health Services underwent a significant transition to TELUS Health’s PS Suite EMR in addition to integrated services. Cathy Simpson, Manager of Information Management Systems, and Lisa Wan, Manager of Health and Administration, discuss the impact on their day-to-day operations, and how TELUS Health is supporting them in their mission of care.
The technological backbone for integrated care.
Electronic medical records have been used by health centres in Ontario for more than 15 years. “EMR knowledge in our sector is very mature,” says Cathy. “When it was time to switch, we were very clear about our expectations around data and our requirements of the system.”
In February 2019, the Rideau Community Health Services group made the transition from Nightingale On Demand to PS Suite EMR from TELUS Health. Lisa says, “The switch was very smooth. All the data came over, and everyone got on board quickly.”
Even the need to customize PS Suite to suit the group’s unique accountability requirements was no problem. “As we are not fee-for-service, we don’t use the OHIP billing module,” says Cathy. “But we still have to be accountable.” Customized pieces were built into the EMR allowing for the necessary data to be extracted and delivered to the MIS (management information system) to meet Ontario Healthcare reporting standards.
Lisa reports that PS Suite has enabled them to win back hours of administration time. “The efaxing feature as well as the ability for providers to create their own prescriptions has reduced so much work on our end,” she says. “Plus, with our multiple locations, administrative staff can move from site to site, and everything they need is at their fingertips. We are much more efficient – able to collaborate, take on new projects and help each other out as needed. And that means way less headaches.”
Seamless, streamlined patient communications.
Cathy and Lisa knew that they wanted to upgrade to automated patient reminders and notifications. They decided to stay with a vendor they trusted. “We were already using the manual version of Cliniconex – we would extract our own data and upload it into Nightingale,” says Cathy. “Now Cliniconex is integrated with PS Suite, and that whole piece works seamlessly.”
The upgrade gave them the chance to expand on notification parameters such as contact method, special instructions (provider, appointment type and location), message timing, and much more. “It is very easy to set up,” says Lisa. “We input message content right in PS Suite, and it’s up and running the next day.”
Another benefit is the dramatic reduction in actual calling time. “We used to do at least 800 calls a month manually,” says Lisa. “That’s a lot of time that we’ve been able to free up.”
Integrated services funnel data directly to EMR .
PS Suite is highly flexible – it can be adapted to fit a clinic’s workflow and integrated with multiple add-ons including external services. The group has integrated BP Monitoring Devices that enable nurses to take patient vitals, which are automatically transferred into the patient’s EMR file.
Also linked to the group’s EMR is the Ontario Lab Information Systems Interface and patient reports from the hospital. “The next thing in the queue is PrescribeIT, Canada’s e-prescribing service,” says Cathy.
Cathy is also considering implementing patient check-in kiosks, which will enable patients to keep their information updated, and to check themselves in on arrival.
Helping to drive product excellence.
Since the transition to PS Suite, Rideau Community Health Services has been exploring ways to maximize its potential. One example is the data-sharing feature. “We are in a data-sharing group with two external family health teams sharing information to support our diabetes education efforts,” says Cathy. But she admits that they are “pushing the boundaries with it.” “It was designed for a walk-in clinic with multiple locations in the same city – not for separate entities.”
Still, TELUS is interested in hearing about the group’s experience. “We actually have a meeting so we can share our thoughts about the data-sharing feature,” she says. While Cathy and her team are very happy with PS Suite, she believes that the customer can drive product excellence. “By having these conversations, we can help make PS Suite that much better, and I’m grateful that TELUS is listening.”