Providence Health Care sites went electronic on November 16

Leanne Heppell, Chief Operating Officer, Acute Care and Chief of Professional Practice and Nursing, PHC; Fiona Dalton, President & CEO, PHC; Ryan Gerard, CTO, CST; Dr. Charles Lo, Senior Medical Director for CST Implementation, PHC.

On Saturday, November 16, St. Paul’s Hospital, Mount Saint Joseph Hospital and Holy Family Hospital, along with their affiliated care homes and select clinics, went electronic. This meant switching from using a mix of paper-based charts and old systems to using a new clinical information system called CST Cerner to improve patient care.

Rolling out the Clinical & Systems Transformation project (known as CST) is important for Providence Health Care (PHC) in terms of how care is delivered now and into the future. It’s all about digitally enabling the organization to keep up with the times. This is something patients expect, and rightly so.

PHC has replaced multiple aging systems – a shift that was critically required. It also introduced practice and process changes, based on best practices, as well as brought in new devices and updated technical infrastructure at its facilities to support new, more modern, ways of working.

The goal of this transformation? To improve the safety, quality and consistency of care for the 610,000 patients served annually. It will also better support PHC's 6,600 staff members, 1,150 physicians and 400 medical residents who provide exceptional care.

This is a significant step towards better health care for all British Columbians, with a total of 40 facilities across PHC, Vancouver Coastal Health and the Provincial Health Services Authority set to roll out the CST project over the next few years.

PHC’s patients and residents can expect to benefit from safer medication management, more consistent care from one location to another, faster access to lab results and medication therapies, and less time spent repeating information or undergoing duplicate tests.

For staff and physicians, this change meant easier access to the patient’s condition(s), allergies, medications, investigations and previous medical history. It also meant no more searching for charts, writing orders on paper or deciphering handwriting, so caregivers can spend more face time with their patients and residents.

Countless people went above and beyond to ensure that PHC was as ready as possible for this big change – from the subject matter experts who lent their expertise, to the countless peer mentors, provider champions and other staff members or physicians who signed up to help. 

November 16 was just the beginning and signalled the start of wave one of PHC’s CST rollout.