THUNDER BAY – Healthbeat – Regional Cancer Care Northwest (RCC NW) is on the road to a paperless patient record. Over the next few years, new technology and systems will allow all patient charting to be digitally recorded thanks to funding from Canada Health Infoway. “RCC NW is passionate about quality improvement,” says Joanne Lacourciere, Program Director, Regional Cancer Care Northwest. “We have committed to using information and communications technologies to enable our strategic priorities at almost every level and believe that electronic health solutions are key enablers of our entire Regional Cancer Plan. This will make a real difference for our patients and our care teams.”
Cancer clinicians at 13 regional sites across the Northwest, including the Regional Cancer Centre in Thunder Bay, will soon have access to one electronic patient record system that will give them immediate access to information that will enhance decision-making and provide safer and more reliable cancer care.
“I think patients throughout the Northwest want all their healthcare teams to have access to complete information no matter where they receive care,” says Dr. Nicole Laferriere, medical oncologist and Regional Systemic Therapy Lead at Regional Cancer Care Northwest. “E-charts can help immensely with coordination of care. I can access and review a patient’s chart anywhere through a secure online portal. This will be a huge benefit for me and my patients.”
“Innovations in digital health can help make cancer care safer and better for patients,” said Richard Alvarez, President and CEO, Canada Health Infoway, the not for profit organization investing federal dollars in electronic health record systems. “With today’s announcement, clinicians from Northwestern Ontario are joining a federally-funded initiative that will see 25,000 ambulatory care providers from across Canada adopt new electronic medical records.”
Patient Family Advisor and E-Chart Implementation Team member Bob Pfaff sees huge benefits for patients with electronic medical records, “When we’re providing care over such vast distances in Northwestern Ontario, having patient records from the entire continuum of care available electronically will make cancer treatment more efficient: patients won’t have to recall and repeat their medical histories, healthcare teams (no matter where they are) can make informed real-time decisions, and there will be better coordination between all aspects of the cancer journey including treatment planning between radiation and chemotherapy.”
Cancer Care Ontario is providing support and coordination to optimize system integration across Ontario. RCC NW is one of three cancer programs in Ontario choosing Elekta’s MOSAIQ oncology information system as a platform to consolidate patient records and treatment management from across the cancer care continuum – prevention and screening, diagnosis, treatment, and supportive and palliative care – into a single system.
Canada Health Infoway support is vital to ensuring RCC NW’s system is implemented quickly and effectively.
“Infoway funding will help purchase software and hardware to deploy a regional system across all fourteen participating sites as well as support the huge implementation effort that e-charting will require, including change management, data conversion, interface development, project management and training,” says Joe Laforet, Program Manager, Regional Support, Cancer Care Ontario. “Electronic records also give us the ability to extract and study data to help make informed decisions about future changes in cancer care to lead to greater efficiencies and better patient experiences.”