There are a lot of hard-working people in Canada’s health-care sector, but at the Ontario
Association of Community Care Access Centres, it’s amazing what Chris gets done.
Besides maintaining all patient information and service plans across the province, Chris also handles intake and referrals, assessment tracking, service monitoring and even reporting on cases. Although some would probably say Chris’s approach to these tasks took some getting used to, it’s fairly safe to suggest that Chris will be a vital part of the OACCAC team for a long time.
Chris, of course, is not human. To Ontario’s 14 CCACs, Chris is really known as CHRIS, an acronym for the Client Health-Related Information System. Originally launched in 2008, the case management system is finally nearing the end of a long roll-out across various locations, with the last CCAC being brought on in November.
For Colin Zvaniga, however, the payback for CHRIS is only just beginning. In late August the CIO of the OACCAC announced a deal with Dell Canada that will involve the provision of more than 4,000 notebooks that will allow case managers to access client records from CHRIS wirelessly over 600 servers and VOIP capabilities.
“Being mobile is extremely important to them,” says Zvaniga, referring to the care coordinators and case workers that CHRIS is there to support. “We’ll be using the Dell equipment to go out to the home, access applications and assist citizens of Ontario right at their house.”
The CCACs, which across Ontario employ more than 7,000 people, provide a variety of services such as assisting 120,000 seniors with nursing and personal support at home and provide assistance to clients when they need to enter a long-term care facility. They also work with children suffering complex and chronic diseases, the terminally ill and many others. In total, the centres serve more than half a million people.
Zvaniga says it’s important that while case managers can connect to CHRIS in the field, case managers won’t be paralyzed if they experience any outages.
“The dream is to have this where regardless of what function you’re doing in the system, you can get disconnected from the network and continue,” he says. “We’re not there on all of the components but we’ve hit the big pieces.”
The mobility options will be one more way to demonstrate the power of CHRIS, which Zvaniga says created considered change management hurdles during its creation and early deployment.
Before 2007, the CCACs were organized as 42 corporations. As the Ministry of Health aligned them into local integrated health networks, or LIHNs, they became 14 organizations, but the 42 ERP-style business systems running them remained. Many of them were still DOS-based, according to Zvaniga. The implementation of CHRIS also meant consolidating down to 14 data systems running on one application.