Get a front-row seat to Providence’s go-live story

Daunting, challenging, exciting: Three words that describe a huge, once-in-a-career change to improve care for Providence Health Care's (PHC) patients and residents.

This is exactly what happened at St. Paul's, Mount Saint Joseph and Holy Family hospitals on November 16. Bright and early that morning, the hospitals – along with their affiliated care homes and select clinics – made the switch to CST Cerner.

Relive the journey to go-live in this new video featuring PHC and CST clinicians and providers. You'll also hear from a patient who had surgery at St. Paul's Hospital shortly after go-live, as well as peers from other health organizations who supported PHC during the transition.

Years in the making, the first wave of PHC sites became the largest implementation to date for the Clinical & Systems Transformation (CST) project.

"PHC was very engaged, so it was really smart that they got their local informatics people up and running way in the beginning," says Christine Jerrett, Senior Manager, Clinical Informatics, CST. "They were able to join us as part of design; they were able to join us as part of validation and testing."

Peer mentors played a key role by learning the new system and workflows early on, and supporting their colleagues in getting up to speed as well. And the number of clinicians and providers who required training across multiple sites was staggering at over 6,000.

"I was really impressed with people's willingness to learn new technology. (It's a) very big practice change," says Emily Zamora, Clinical Resource Dietician, PHC.

For many, going electronic was scary – daunting, even. For some, it was exciting. For most, it was a reminder that technology only enhances what they already know: How to care for people.

"It doesn't change the actual care of the patient, the bedside care. But it changes a lot of the behind-the-scenes care," says Dr. Gil Kimel, Physician Program Director, Palliative Services, PHC.

While adapting to a new way of working isn't easy, it's worth it to improve the safety, quality and consistency of care for the 610,000 patients and residents PHC serves each year.

But for a while, establishing a new normal is like jumping into a pool and figuring out that it's freezing cold, says Jo-Ann Tait, Corporate Director, Seniors Care & Regional Program Director, Residential Care, Assisted Living and Supportive Housing, PHC. 

"I anticipate that within a very short period of time, we're going to acclimatize and things are actually going to be okay."