SSHA saves hospitals cash

More than 50 Ontario hospitals are saving about $40,000 permonth after moving to Smart System for Health Agency’s (SSHA)health card validation system from the Ministry of Health andLong-Term Care’s network.

The new network – dubbed ONE — is a secure, private network,specifically for health care providers, according to Anne Lawrence,business manager, telehealth, and eHealth Solutions, SSHA.

“We are the network through which the hospitals access thehealth card validation that belongs to the Ministry of Health,”Lawrence said. “We are the ‘highway’ the validation process takesplace over.”

And both the Ministry and the hospitals benefit from using theONE Network, she said.

“The Ministry benefits, because the number of firewalls theyhave to co-ordinate has been reduced as a result of the hospitalstransitioning over to the SSHA network,” Lawrence said.

The benefits for the hospital include cost savings because theydon’t have to pay for monthly network costs to access the healthcard validation application over a different network, she said.

“(Ontario hospitals) can now do it over our secure network,”Lawrence said.

Moving to the ONE Network eliminates a cost and simplifies eachhospital’s IT environment by having one less external connection,SSHA said in a release.

Using the SSHA ONE network means savings of about $600 per monthfor Stratford General Hospital, according to its director of IT,Russell Dick.

“The change to the SSHA health card validation system was notseen by the end-user, only the IT department,” Dick said. “It was apretty seamless transition.”

It is something other IT departments are saying as well,according to Lawrence.

“I have received many emails from IT departments at hospitalssaying how seamless the transition was,” she said “I have receivedvery positive feedback that the implementation at the differenthospital sites was very well received.”

An additional project underway utilizing the ONE Network is theDrug Profile Viewer, Lawrence said.

“It’s going to enable emergency departments to access medicationhistory for patients coming into the emergency room,” she said.”That would be the next logical step, it’s another example of ahealth-related application.”

“Detailed planning is very important when you’re talking aboutthese kinds of initiatives,” Lawrence said. “The more ways thathealth care providers can leverage the infrastructure that’s beeninvested in, to provide this managed private network, the lessstress there will be on the public health care system overall froma financial standpoint.”

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