Brampton gets $550M health care facelift

The ability to measure its performance will enable the newly upgraded Brampton Civic Hospital to continuously improve health care delivery and patient safety, according to a hospital official.

The hospital’s $550-million physical and technology upgrade includes an integrated communications network and patient information system that enables hospital staff to do performance measurement and other metrics to gauge effectiveness in various areas of the hospital’s operation, said Judy Middleton, CIO at William Osler Health Centre, which runs the Brampton Civic Hospital.

“All the technology installed (in the hospital) has benefits realization factored in our approach, both qualitative and quantitative,” Middleton said.

Asked whether the hospital has made any forecast as to how much the technology upgrade will improve service delivery, such as patient wait-times, Middleton said that will be clearer once the systems start generating the necessary performance reports.

The Brampton Civic Hospital officially opens on October 28, with all its information and communications systems up and running.

Middleton said the hospital will then be evaluating operational efficiency every 3 months, making use of the performance measurement capabilities of the hospital’s newly installed systems.

At the lobby entrance of Brampton’s newest 1.3 million square foot facility are registration kiosks that allow a patient to do self-service check in by simply swiping his or her OHIP health card. The information of the patient will then appear on the screen and the self-service registration will be facilitated.

Once that process is completed, the patient will be asked to walk over to the Fast Lane registrar to pick up his or her bar coded wrist bracelet.

While the wait time studies have yet to be made, the hospital is certain that with the new technologies in place, efficiency in patient care and safety will significantly improve, said Henry Chan, a project manager at William Osler Health Centre.

Chan led the implementation of the CareSuite platform at the hospital’s emergency department. CareSuite is a high-acuity care information system from Picis Inc., which automates patient processing at the hospital’s emergency department, peri-operative area and critical care unit.

The CareSuite system enables nurses to track emergency room patients throughout the duration of their visit to the hospital, as well as prioritize patients according to urgency, according to Chan. “We’ll always know where everybody is all the time.”

The emergency department will be using an application called, Pulse Check, which serves as a tracking board for nurses to track patients in the emergency room. Through various icons, a nurse is able to determine the status of a patient in emergency, including the diagnosis and whether the patient needs to be admitted. There is even a column that indicates whether a patient has checked out of the emergency or whether he or she is still waiting for a ride home.

Patient safety is one of the most important elements of all the technology upgrades at the Brampton Hospital, Middleton said. A big component of the new information system is the use of fingerprint biometric for single sign on identity and authentication of all hospital staff and health care providers.

“We’re pushing (biometric) technology to the edge,” said Middleton, adding that using biometrics for access authentication eliminates the need to remember lengthy passwords when accessing restricted applications or information.

Depending on their level of access, hospital workers can open up patient files or applications by presenting their fingerprint on a reader located on the keyboard of hospital computers. This ensures that only authorized personnel are able to access confidential data and critical applications, said Middleton.

The automated medicine dispensers, located at various nurse’s station across the hospital, are also biometric-enabled, said Carol Dueck, a consultant for the hospital’s medication management system.

“The hospital has chosen to build many of these equipment for safety factors, not just for efficiency,” she said.

The hospital also deployed Cisco’s IP-based wireless infrastructure involving a converged 10 gigabit Ethernet network and some 550 Motorola Symbol MC70 wireless handheld devices.

Deployed to doctors and nurses across the hospital, these handheld devices have integrated voice and data features, serving as pager, phone and an alert system. The hospital has “wall-to-wall” intranet coverage with WiFi connectivity.

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