2018 News

#ThinkDigitalHealth: How Technology is Transforming Care at VHA

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By VHA
Hand fist bumping overtop of computers

Digital Health Week recognizes and celebrates the positive impact of digital health care across Canada. Just as technology changed how we communicate with friends and do business, developments in digital health have transformed documentation and delivery of home care.

For VHA Home Health Care (VHA), the leading-edge Electronic Medical Records Initiative (EMRI) is helping to provide “client care and service delivery that is better, faster, safer and more accurate,” says Jaspreet Soor, Professional Practice Specialist, Clinical Informatics at VHA. “And we’re improving our practices at a larger level. Service providers across multiple disciplines can access health information and complete required documentation right from the client’s home. That’s transformative,” she says.

After rolling out electronic records to VHA’s nursing teams in 2016, this year’s focus has been on VHA’s rehabilitation services. For each discipline, the EMRI team recruited a carefully selected working group of professionals including community service providers, practice leaders and developers to design a state-of-the-art-system. Innovative drop down menus, pop-up reminders and intuitive forms that show or hide information as required are just some of the ways electronic records maximize efficiency and free up time for better patient care.

They also enlist, “EMRI Champions that are not typically in leadership roles, but are skilled with documentation, have strong presentation abilities and are positive peer leaders,” Jaspreet clarifies. These champions are integral to launch, helping with training regional groups so everyone is ready to go at roll out time.

“The beauty of EMRI is that it’s built from the ground up and very user-driven. From the get-go, service providers are telling us what they need, what they want to see and how we can continually improve. There’s a constant feedback loop which makes the actual implementation so much easier,” explains Jaspreet.

Occupational Therapists (OTs) are already using electronic medical records in London and are expected to reach all service areas by the end of 2018. Physiotherapists are also in the early stage of their build and should be using electronic documentation by 2019.

Jaspreet acknowledges that while they continue with the OT rollout, they are still working with nursing EMRI Champions to make regular changes. “This job will never be static. Best practices, clinical guidelines and workflow processes are always changing. That’s a good thing because EMRI is designed to respond to that,” she says. “There are so many ways that technology will continue to transform health care for Canadians and Digital Health Week is a great opportunity to discuss and reflect,” says Jaspreet.