Kidney care elevated by electronic health record

March is National Kidney Month, a time to spotlight kidney health and the programs supporting treatment and prevention of kidney disease. At Providence Health Care and Vancouver Coastal health, the new electronic health record system (CST Cerner) is helping to enhance the care provided through these renal programs.

Living kidney donor grateful for streamlined care

For patients with kidney disease, receiving a kidney transplant may be life-saving. Living kidney donor Pam Rankel is recognized as a hero and was one of the first patients to undergo surgery using our new CST Cerner system recently rolled-out throughout Vancouver General Hospital (VGH).


Dr. David Harriman, a transplant surgeon at Vancouver General and St. Paul’s Hospitals and Patient Pam Rankel speak about how the new system supports improved care and a more seamless experience for medical staff and patients. 

Care improvements for dialysis patients

Hemodialysis is a treatment to clean blood for a person whose kidneys are no longer completing this function. It can have a big impact on a patient’s lifestyle as they undergo treatment multiple times per week for several hours. Their care journey also typically includes visits at various facilities for testing and treatment 

To deliver hemodialysis, care teams need a clear picture of a patient’s history including recent medications and any past treatment complications. Before CST Cerner, these documents had to be tracked down from various sources. Now, if a patient at St. Paul’s Hospital’s renal program requires an emergency dialysis at VGH, their care team has the full context right away in their electronic chart. 

Cross-facility connectivity makes all the difference

Cross-facility connectivity throughout Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) and Providence Health Care (PHC) also supports expertise sharing. “I routinely get calls from Mount Saint Joseph or Lions Gate Hospital for advice,” says Dr. Michael Copland, Medical Director, Kidney Services, VCH and PHC. “Since we’re all on CST Cerner now, I can look at the chart simultaneously to see the patient’s blood work and vitals, allowing me to make an assessment while the care team has me on the phone.”

If a patient from a community site requires hemodialysis at a centre within St. Paul’s or VGH, they may wish to be transferred closer to home. Now with PHC community dialysis units using CST Cerner, these facility transfers can happen much faster. “The time reduced [for facility transfers] may even be up to two weeks,” says Dr. Mercedeh Kiaii, Medical Director, St. Paul’s Hospital dialysis unit.

Continuity of care supports research

“We regularly contribute data to national kidney studies supporting better outcomes for renal patients,” says Dr. Kiaii. “With facility transfers, we may have had less participation because we could no longer track the patient’s progress (with their permission) once they went to a community dialysis unit, but now their data remains available because the chart is electronic.”

“The renal programs [at PHC and VCH] have always collaborated closely as our patients’ have complex needs and diverse care plans. Having CST Cerner in our toolbox has allowed us to be even more unified,” says Dr. Kiaii.

The overall number of CST Cerner users is approximately 38,000 across Vancouver Coastal Health, Provincial Health Services Authority and Providence Health Care. Learn more: