Nightingale helps speech centres sound sweeter

Its goal is to provide speech-language and hearing services to Nova Scotians when and where they need them.

And that’s something Nova Scotia Hearing & Speech Centres (NSHSC) will soon do far more effectively – with a little help from technology.

The Centres will soon rollout new Web-based applications from Nightingale Informatix Corp. – a Canadian provider of practice and clinical management applications – across all its 29 sites.

The deployment is expected to significantly reduce wait times, and improve patient services.

At the heart of the project will be the implementation of myNightingale Enterprise Practice Management and Electronic Patient Record (EPR) system in all 29 centres throughout the province. An integrated system, MyNightingale automates daily tasks, streamlines workflows and creates a single, accessible source of patient data.

The Nova Scotia Department of Health has provided funding for this project.

Following a new licensing agreement, 80 new licenses will be provided to the Centres. The license costs – of more than $300,000 – will come from the DOH 2005-2006 budget.

Lynn Fraser, CEO of Nova Scotia Hearing and Speech Centres, said Nightingale went through an extensive RFP process for the license agreement.

“One of the reasons we chose Nightingale was because they were willing to accommodate our needs, and custom tailor the program specifically for us.”

Fraser pointed out the system had to be customized as the applications by Nightingale had been previously used by physicians, but this system will be used by the Centres over 80 audiologists and speech pathologists.

She said the service providers are excited about the applications, as it will enable them to devote more time to patient care.

Alia Mourtada, vice-president, product strategy and client services for Nightingale, said the Centres would be using the same application the DOH is using in their Primary Healthcare Information Management program (PHIM).

“These applications will include patient scheduling, billing (provincial and private), and workflow tools such as task management and secure messaging through our system,” said Mourtada.

She said the Centres were particularly interested in applications that power program development and monitoring of patient registration.

This, she added, is similar to what Nightingale created for the Alberta Orthopedic Society where they’re able to record the wait times from when patients were referred to a program, as well as the time they spent with the program until they were discharged. “This also enables them to present statistics on any patient that was discharged and had to come back within a certain period of time for one reason or another.”

“It will also include enterprise reporting capabilities, both from a financial, operational and clinical perspective…one key component for the DOH is workload management and measurement.”

One implementation challenge, said Mourtada, is getting familiarized with the workflow of the staff.

“We have rigid methodology for training, which includes workflow assessment and understanding of the business before we go in and put the application in place, and train the staff on how to apply the software.”

Mourtada said they expect to have the applications in all the Centres by summer of 2006.

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