Seamless access to patient information supports improved patient care between rural and urban sites

(L-R): Deborah Cyr, Booking Clerk, Medical Imaging, Sechelt Hospital receives support from Chantel Yates, Imaging Informatics Co-ordinator at Sechelt Hospital who assisted as a peer mentor.

Staff and providers within Coastal's community of care report they can provide more seamless care since transitioning to CST Cerner, our new shared electronic health record system (read more about CST Cerner).​

When a patient is treated at a CST Cerner site in North Vancouver or the lower mainland and returns to Squamish or Sechelt, they no longer need to wait for their local care team to obtain results. Instead, health records are shared in real time from Lions Gate Hospital, St Paul's Hospital, BC Women's Hospital + Health Centre or BC Children's Hospital.

"If a patient starts at Squamish Hospital and then heads to Lions Gate Hospital to get MRI images, once they return to their home hospital, details are already in the system for rural clinicians," says Chantel Yates, an Imaging Informatics Co-ordinator at Lions Gate Hospital. “This means continuous care for patients even if they need a specialty service that's only available elsewhere."

VCH's Dr. Marius Welgemoed, a Local Medical Director in Sechelt/Gibsons, helps lead the team at Sechelt Hospital which recently transitioned to CST Cerner. As a psychiatrist at the hospital, he knows first-hand how this new system is improving day-to-day processes for rural physicians.

"By leveraging the shared data within CST Cerner, we're better connected. It means those of us working at rural sites essentially become part of the larger hospitals," said Marius. “Having that shared access also allows specialists at major hospitals to consult rural-based patients through virtual health."

"In terms of continuation of care, it's a game changer because it takes out the guess work. Physicians like me at a rural hospital often have to cover multiple areas. Any additional steps to securing patient information adds complexity and can take away from time spent with the patient. When we can access health records in real time, it streamlines the experience for care teams and their patients and helps reduce unnecessary delays."

Cindy Sellers, Senior Manager, VCH Clinical Informatics, who also helped lead Sechelt's rollout of CST Cerner, says rural specialists now have a clearer picture of the patient journey thanks to CST Cerner.

“Rural specialists get direct electronic access to documents and notes from the referring physician, often outside of their region, instead of deciphering details in paper charts and making numerous follow-up calls," said Cindy. “The new system has tools for placing and managing treatment and medication orders to make this possible."