health information system
Nick Vlacholias, the regional HIS CEO lead, and Brockville General Hospital’s president and CEO, signing the Cerner contract.
Abby McIntyre/BGH

The six hospital organizations in the southeast have signed an agreement with Cerner Corporation (NASDAQ: CERN) to transform the experiences of those providing and receiving health care, with the implementation of a shared health information system (HIS) that includes electronic health records.

Once implemented, the regional system supported by Cerner Millennium® will replace paper-based records, and provide a single source of individuals’ health information and clinical tools that will help health-care workers coordinate and deliver safe, high-quality care throughout the region.

“I am excited about our regional hospitals’ partnership with Cerner; it’s a promise to the people in our communities, many of whom travel across our region to receive care, that we will continuously improve for their benefit,” says Nick Vlacholias, the regional HIS CEO lead, and Brockville General Hospital’s president and CEO.

“A new health information system places in the hands of our health-care teams the modern tools and technologies they need to deliver excellent care every day. This historic regional investment will also help to build a more integrated care system across our region, and demonstrates our commitment to better health outcomes,” added Vlacholias.

Currently, people’s health information exists in many different systems that don’t connect to each other. When people receive care from multiple health-care providers and settings in the region, they are often expected to track and share their own complex medical information, and frequently have to repeat tests because health-care providers do not have easy access to information about the care people have received elsewhere.

“Efficient and safe health care relies on informed decision making by engaged care teams. Throughout the selection process and well into the planning for system transformation, it’s been clear that the stakeholder hospitals, regional Ontario Health Teams and Cerner share a vision for connected, patient-centric care,” said Jim Shave, president, Cerner Canada. “We look forward to welcoming the southeast team to the collaborative group of Cerner clients who are advancing health care delivery through the effective use of technology and data.”

The regional HIS’s evolution to include long-term care and community care modules, and a pilot in 2023 for primary care, aligns with the aim of Ontario Health Teams to have health-care providers work as one coordinated team to make it easier for people to navigate the system and transition between providers.

“I firmly believe that this vital system transformation will ultimately help people, seamlessly, through their health journeys – regardless, from which setting, in our region, they receive care,” says Penny Green, one of the patient experience advisors involved in the project and a member of the project’s steering committee.

Community members with experience accessing care in southeastern Ontario have been working, and will continue to work, alongside health-care providers to implement the regional HIS, ensuring it meets the unique needs of people in our region.

“I wholeheartedly believe that the involvement of patient experience advisors in this project has made a real difference,” says Green. “By continuously emphasizing, together, ‘what is best for individuals receiving care,’ we have envisioned a system that will deliver more connected care for all of us.”

The six hospital organizations partnering to implement a regional HIS are: Brockville General Hospital, Kingston Health Sciences Centre, Lennox and Addington County General Hospital, Perth & Smiths Falls District Hospital, Providence Care, and Quinte Health Care.

It is anticipated that the implementation of the regional health information system in the southeast will take approximately three years.