This innovative Canadian health care organization is making waves in the industry when it comes to health IT. At Humber River Hospital in Toronto, Ontario, IT is being integrated into just about everything the organization does, and it is being done with great enthusiasm. This is wonderful news for health care organizations around the country and the world, as Humber River is providing a road map as to what other organizations can do to make things better in every way for employees and patients alike.
Bringing Hospitals into the 21st Century
Traditionally, hospitals have not been known as organizations that change quickly or dramatically. Until recently, Humber River was no exception. However, things changed when they hired their current CIO, Peter Bak. Peter has a commitment to defining a culture of innovation at Humber, and he entered his current position with this goal. Since he arrived, things at Humber River have changed in a variety of ways, and all for the better.
Some of the IT innovations that Bak has spearheaded at Humber River Hospital include:
- Having all of its information available in electronic form
- Increasing and improving digital patient engagement
- Robotic appliances that travel around the hospital to deliver supplies
- Automating whatever can be automated, in order to create safer and more efficient workflows
- Linking people to assets in the hospital, such as using IT to help employees find available wheelchairs or other necessary supplies
Improving Employee Communication at Work
The connectivity that Bak supports and promotes is not just limited to inanimate objects, either. He encourages the same type of connectivity among employees. This includes connecting the various care teams of the hospital, which often have significant communication gaps between them. With Bak’s innovations, this is no longer an issue, which creates a better experience for employees as well as patients.
Interpersonal connectivity between care teams is encouraged through the use of telecommunications tools. The hospital uses the highest quality telecommunications tools to allow employees to more easily talk to each other, as well as allowing them to communicate more easily with the IT in the building. The tools also ensure that the right alerts and alarms go off to the correct clinicians in the building, which improves patient safety and outcomes, and makes for a better patient experience, while allowing clinicians to do their jobs to the best of their ability with greater ease.
Using Analytics to Improve Outcomes and Communication Efficiency
Another thing Bak has emphasized since taking on his role at Humber River is analytics. The goal was to leverage electronic data in a way that provided the hospital and its various care teams with good analytics in a simple and easily accessible way. With the correct analytics in hand, care teams can see exactly how they are doing, what they need to do to improve, and how to get patients what they need in a more timely and efficient manner. The hospital is currently experimenting with the use of analytics to eliminate never events there.
Humber River Hospital’s ultimate goal with all of these IT innovations is to provide their patients with the highest quality of care, while giving them the best possible outcomes every single time. Leveraging the use of IT in this goal is helping them be among the best in the industry. What they are doing shows other hospitals how to do the same thing to improve their own employee experience and standard of care for their patients.
Providing an Innovation Map for Others
In any industry, someone has to be an innovator and lead the way into the next level way of doing things. Among Toronto’s hospitals, that entity is Humber River Hospital. It is serving as an inspiration and a guide for others to do the same.
The lack of good use of IT in the health care field is something Bak definitely noticed. The consumer world had already mastered the use of IT in efficient communication. However, the health care industry was languishing in the Dark Ages by not using those available technologies. He saw how using old-fashioned methods of communication was resulting in poorer outcomes for patients, and determined to do something about it. He pushed Humber River Hospital into the 21st century in terms of using technology for improving communications. Today, his efforts have tangible successes. Other health care organizations would do well to follow the map this one innovative place has created for them.