VIDEO: This is Why: New CST Cerner tools support care for clients committed under the Mental Health Act

Vancouver Coastal Health Department Head & Medical Director, Dr. JJ Sidhu, describes why he’s excited for new CST Cerner mental health tools and alerts and how it will improve care for clients. Watch the video

When a client who needs access to mental health treatment is a risk to themselves or others, they may be certified under the BC Mental Health Act to temporarily receive care on an involuntary basis. The stakes are high for these clients (and their families). It’s important that they receive compassion and respect, as well timely information on their rights and next steps for their care. This includes when they can expect to be released from hospital.

“When a patient is committed involuntarily, we take this incredibly seriously,” said Dr. JJ Sidhu, Department Head & Medical Director, Vancouver Acute, Psychiatry, Vancouver Coastal Health. Dr. Sidhu has provided insight and input into these MHA tools available in CST Cerner since 2019, alongside peers from Providence Health Care and Provincial Health Services Authority, who use the electronic health record system (learn more at

Compliance with the MHA can be challenging on a busy health care unit.

“It’s time sensitive, involves multiple care team members, and we often don’t know when the clock starts,” said Dr. Sidhu. “It’s not infrequent that I’ll get a call from a nurse asking, ‘when does this form expire?’ I’m really excited for this new functionality because now a nurse or social worker will be alerted that there’s an activity or form to be completed.”

“The lives of my daughter and I have been preserved through the protection of the MHA. We have a right to receive treatment when we are too ill to seek care. We are grateful for the ever improving quality of psychiatric care provided by VCH and PHC,” Patient partner, Providence Health Care and Vancouver Coastal Health.

“I want to thank each CST team member and health care site partner involved with this work for their contributions over the past two and a half years. Your work helped to build a safer and better system for clients,” said Aaron Leung, previously the CST Mental Health Clinical Informatics Lead for this project. Leung, now project manager for Vancouver Coastal Health and Providence Health Care Involuntary Admissions Team, added, “The Mental Health Act improvements in CST Cerner were designed to reflect best practices and help safeguard the human rights of patients – especially those with complex medical and social needs.”

New tools and alerts to support MHA compliance are now available at Lions Gate Hospital, St. Paul’s Hospital, BC Children’s and BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre, and other acute and mental health sites that use CST Cerner. To learn more, visit