Southeast Ontario health partners to adopt shared health information system

Kingston General Hospital, a KHSC site. Photo by Lucas Mulder.

Kingston Health Science Centre (KHSC) and Providence Care have entered into an agreement, alongside four other hospital organizations in southeastern Ontario, with Cerner Corporation to implement a shared health information system (HIS), which 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 healthcare workers coordinate and deliver safe, high-quality care throughout the region, according to a release from KHSC.

Currently, individual’s health information exists in many different systems that don’t connect to each other. When people receive care from multiple healthcare 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 healthcare providers do not have easy access to information about the care people have received elsewhere, according to the release.

“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,” said Penny Green, one of the patient experience advisors involved in the project and a member of the project’s steering committee.

According to the release, community members with experience accessing care in southeastern Ontario have been working, and will continue to work, alongside healthcare 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,” Green said. “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.

2 thoughts on “Southeast Ontario health partners to adopt shared health information system

  • I hope that they have taken the highest measures to ensure the security of those records and the protection of privacy.

    • In reply to this comment my concern in addition to the security of those records and protection of privacy of each patient is the damage to a patient if there are inaccuracies within those records.

      I can attest to having personal experience with inaccurate records, including narratives with misinformation and disinformation, in the KHSC network.

      After moving to the Kingston area in 2015 and being without the support of a primary care physician I was subject to resorting to emergency department care when requiring medical attention. This was a foreign experience for me as I had been fortunate in the past to require very little medical care.

      My now inaccurate records have compromised my care and resulted in me being treated with disrespect from numerous medical professionals and their administration while trying to voice my concerns within the hospitals and medical community. My input as a patient has been in many instances negated or transcribed incorrectly by the medical personnel.

      Medical records are already available to numerous institutions/medical providers outside of these hospitals and being accessed. I was surprised to learn of this. I previously worked in the dental community for over 25 years and took steps to always receive a patient’s consent before sharing records and ensuring records were accurate and complete.

      It was shocking to learn access was being made to my records.

      As I was attempting to seek care, it was from comments made by medical providers based on information I knew I had not provided to them, and in fact was inaccurate, that I realized there was a problem; a back door of information I wasn’t aware of.

      In attempting to correct the issues I have received push back at every level within the KHSC network and been accused of malingering.

      The concept proposed in theory is good. Although, in practise, in my opinion and experience, the shared records are at this point in time similar to the old adage – a broken telephone line, which again in my opinion, is resulting in, and will continue to result in, many patients being compromised;

      presenting opportunities for care decisions to possibly be made based on misinformation and disinformation, along with possibly assumptions made about a patient’s character which are inaccurate and thus damaging to the patient.

      Will this result in further reduction of patient intake at medical assessments? How does a patient correct inaccuracies when they become known. What damage is done if the inaccuracies don’t become known to the patient and the patient does not have the ability or resources to correct the inaccuracies.

      It would be ideal if one medical practitioner could unequivocally trust the opinion and narratives of every other medical practitioner, but, in my opinion and experience these past three years, certainly not realistic.

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