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Case Study – Transitioning to an EMR

About Our Client

Hamilton Health Sciences is a hospital network of seven hospitals and a cancer centre, and a community of 15,000 staff, physicians, researchers and volunteers. HHSC is the only hospital in Ontario that provides care for all ages, from pre-birth to end-of-life. HHSC serves the residents of Hamilton and South Central Ontario and provides specialized and advanced care to people across the province. More than 900,000 patient visits occur each year at HHSC.

The Challenge: Integrating paper and digital records

HHSC was moving to a fully electronic medical record (EMR) for all of its patients. Electronic records ensure all caregivers have access to critical patient information anywhere, anytime, but achieving that goal is an enormously complex process. During the transition paper records continue to be created and HHSC needed a way to integrate the new paper records into the ever-growing digital patient record. HHSC lacked the resources and expertise to digitize daily the high volume of paper records being created at multiple locations.

The Solution: Finding a trusted partner

Beginning in 2003 HHSC outsourced the preparation, scanning, uploading, and associated quality control, of their paper patient records to Bay Area Records. Working in partnership with Octacom Limited, Bay Area Records had the experience and expertise to provide document management services to HHSC with no capital investment. Each day patient records were delivered to Bay Area Records in downtown Hamilton. Within hours these records could be viewed by authorized users on computers at any of the hospital’s many locations. If the HHSC care team required access to these records even more quickly urgent uploads were completed within minutes of a request, by the Bay Area Records team.

Initially HHSC used Meditech as its digital patient record and purchased Sovera for HIM as the scanning and workflow software that would integrate their paper patient records into their digital patient records. In June 2022 HHSC transitioned to the EPIC system, using Quanum ECM as the associated paper integration software.

The Results

For 19 years Bay Area Records processed more than 30,000 pages of paper patient records daily for HHSC. Most images were delivered within 24 hours of being received, and Emergency Room records were delivered within 6 hours. Now the transition to a comprehensive EMR is almost complete at HHSC. Bay Area Records has delivered more than 200,000,000 pages of high-quality digital images to HHSC and these images have been integrated into their electronic medical records.

With Bay Area Records as their partner, HHSC’s Health Records Department has become a “department without walls”. Coders can work remotely, incomplete records are processed on line, and release of information is all done digitally. Valuable hospital space has been repurposed from records storage to clinical care.

Bay Area Records also worked with the HHSC team to redesign document management processes and records workflow. Software was installed to manage legacy records, staff training was offered, and project and change management services provided. HHSC now also uses Bay Area Records to manage their 10,000+ employee files digitally.

These positive results led to the introduction of similar solutions for the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Community Care Access Centre (HNHB CCAC), Joseph Brant Hospital in Burlington, the hospitals of the Niagara Health System, Haldimand War Memorial Hospital in Dunnville, Ontario, and many other community-based providers and healthcare organizations.

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