Information technology is transforming health care in Ontario hospitals, enabling improved quality, safety and efficiency. This was made evident this month when two Ontario hospitals – North York General Hospital and St. Michael’s Hospital – became the first two acute care hospitals in Ontario to reach Stage 6 on the HIMSS Analytics Electronic Medical Record Adoption ModelSM (EMRAM).
The EMRAM score focuses on how information technology is supporting clinical care within a hospital, and provides acute care hospitals with a benchmark to assess their current state of maturity, identify future goals, and uncover opportunities to learn through peer comparison.
The accomplishments of North York General and St. Michael’s hospitals demonstrate their exceptional commitment -- as well as significant progress -- to how the advanced use of technology can benefit patients. Achieving this level of maturity takes years of leadership, planning and a large financial investment by resource-constrained hospitals, which is a considerable challenge for any organization. While there is broad commitment among Ontario hospitals to adopt information technology, due to the many barriers to progress, the average Ontario acute care hospital is currently still at Stage 2 on the EMRAM. This shows that there are still many untapped opportunities to use technology to enable improved patient care.
The OHA has long been a strong advocate of the numerous potential benefits of technology within the clinical setting. The ultimate goal is for hospitals to have the ability to exchange pertinent patient information across providers as part of a seamless electronic system.
About HIMSS Analytics EMRAM Stage 6:
Through the OHA’s partnership with HIMSS Analytics, hospitals are provided with the tools to gauge their progress, and to identify which investments can help them advance to the next stage. The EMRAM identifies and scores hospitals on their ability to complete the eight stages to creating a paperless patient record environment. By achieving Stage 6, physicians and clinicians, at both North York General and St. Michael’s, are now able to electronically write and order medications, as well as other treatments, and electronically document a patient’s care, increasing patient and medication safety, as well clinical decision support. For example, the “Five Rights” of medication administration are now automated, complete with alerts, to ensure the right patient, drug, dose, route of administration and time.