Wait times fix on the way in Ontario

Ontario hospitals are in the process of rolling out a softwaresuite that hopes to shorten wait times for key medical procedures,including cancer surgery.

The initiative is part of the government of Ontario’s wait timesreduction plan – a project being steered by Cancer CareOntario.

The first part of the system is a patient database, which is being produced byChicago, Ill.-based Initiate Systems Inc.

“The plan is each one of these hospitals has a patient databaseor multiple patient databases, so we take those databases and weload them into ours,” said Scott Harper, senior vice president/GM,Healthcare Practice, Initiate.

The loading of patient databases in Ontario together ensuresthat there are no duplicate records, according to Harper.

“(It’s) the part of the system that will help provide a sourceof truth about patient information that is 100 per cent pristine,”he said.

Accenture built the software for the wait times strategy and isone of the vendors helping with implementation of the software inthe hospitals.

The actual wait times reporting software can then track thesurgical incident and the wait time in each area, according to WillFalk, partner, Health and Life Sciences Practice, Accenture.

Falk said the software is a tool to schedule events likesurgeries, but it also has a reporting ability to show how longwait times are progressing.

“Implementation has been going well so far, even though with anyIT system there are some bumps,” he said. “It has been widelyaccepted and embraced because people are happy that this problem isbeing addressed.”

But there is opposition to the new system by some surgeons,according to Sarah Kramer, vice-president and CIO, Cancer CareOntario.

There has been a certain amount of suspicion from surgeons about why thisinformation is being collected, she said.

“Surgeons and doctors, generally speaking, have been in standalone practices where they don’t feel part of the hospitaladministration so this is a bit of shift,” she said. “For the mostpart this transition has gone well, but there is the odd case whereyou find a difficulty and someone says ‘you can’t tell me what todo, I don’t work here.'”

Kramer said this initiative is important because until now”health care is generally in the 1970s in terms of technology as anindustry and it’s time to move forward.”

“I think there is a lot of push not only to use this as a waittimes system but also to get surgeons connected so that we cancommunicate with them other then snail mail,” she said. “One of theside benefits of implementation is that every surgeon will beconnected to the Internet, which surprised me to know theyweren’t.”

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