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Using smart technologies to make a meaningful impact on patient care

Using smart technologies to make a meaningful impact on patient care

By Christina Cindric

At Mackenzie Health, staff across the organization have worked hard to integrate innovative, smart health care technologies into the way care is delivered to patients. The approach to digital health has resulted in the organization becoming the first Canadian acute care hospital to receive the highest certification for electronic medical record adoption – HIMSS EMRAM Stage 7. This year, Mackenzie Health was also named a recipient of the HIMSS Nicholas E. Davies Award of Excellence for the thoughtful application of health information and technology to substantially improve clinical care delivery, patient outcomes and population health.

Mackenzie Health’s adoption of smart technologies and approach to delivering care has made a meaningful impact on the lives of patients in a number of ways. Results include decreasing the amount of time it takes to treat stroke patients and those suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and reducing instances of hospital acquired infections.

Stroke patients are treated in half the time

During a stroke, every second makes a difference in a patient’s recovery. The Mackenzie Health clinical team adjusted electronic workflows and protocols to streamline key areas of the patient journey. Now, patients who receive care at the York Region District Stroke Centre at Mackenzie Health receive life-saving medication 50 per cent faster, significantly improving their chances of recovery.

Mackenzie Health is the only hospital in Ontario’s York Region to provide the clot-busting drug tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), which breaks apart the clot to help restore blood flow to the brain to help reduce the damage of a stroke.

In 2016, Mackenzie Health’s median time from when the patient arrived at the hospital to when tPA was administered was 53.5 minutes. Now in 2019, it’s 27 minutes – three minutes faster than the provincial target. Earlier treatment for those experiencing a stroke has also contributed to patients going home sooner with less disability.

COPD patients are discharged home sooner

COPD affects 750,000 Canadians and is a progressive lung disease that blocks airflow and interferes with normal breathing. Patients with this condition often have high hospital needs and are admitted through the emergency department.

To streamline care, clinical teams at Mackenzie Health developed a COPD tool based on best practices that they embedded within the electronic medical record to standardize care for patients. They also introduced electronic prompts and digital documentation to synchronize workflows and further support care teams. Being able to access real-time data helps to better monitor, plan and implement clinical care improvements that have led to improved recovery and patient outcomes.

Using the COPD tool has resulted in earlier treatment while shortening the length of hospital stay by more than two days for these patients. It has also allowed Mackenzie Health to care for more patients with the same resources.

Reduced hospital acquired infections

Approximately 38,000 instances of hospital-acquired C. difficile are reported across Canada annually.  Mackenzie Health used a multi-disciplinary team approach to help decrease instances of the infection. Working collaboratively across departments, staff leveraged information technology tools to optimize workflows, which resulted in decreased antibiotic usage, reduced time in isolation and improved environmental cleaning.

Since implementation of these workflows in the electronic medical record in 2017, Mackenzie Health has decreased antimicrobial usage by 22 per cent and decreased hospital-acquired C. difficile infections by 47 per cent.

These advances are only a few examples that demonstrate that health care innovation and improved patient care, recovery and experience go hand in hand. People at Mackenzie Health are always looking for new and innovative ways to improve care delivery, and are excited to be part of Canada’s first smart hospital when the new Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital opens.

Christina Cindric is a Senior Communications Consultant at Mackenzie Health.


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