2020 CHIA Award Winner BC Innovation Hub Project

December 16, 2020 – The 2020 Innovation in Care Delivery Award goes to the BC Innovation Hub 1 Project (Divisions of Family Practice, TELUS Health). The Innovation in Care Delivery Team Award honours private and public sector team effort by recognizing a for-profit healthcare IT company and client team that has successfully implemented a new, innovative health IT solution within the past 12 months.

The BC Innovation Hub Initiative is a partnership between the BC Ministry of Health, Interior Health Authority, South Okanagan Similkameen Division of Family Practice (SOS Division), and TELUS Health. The Innovation Hub’s approach is to identify clinical needs first and build solutions to meet those needs. Different concepts were identified for implementation.

  • CDX /MedDialog Establish a communication network so that clinicians can access and share more complete and accurate patient information to support a high standard of care. It will provide the mechanism for simple document files to be sent and received across systems (in this case MedAcess to Meditech). This solution will also focus on extending document type and support the delivery of status notifications.
  • Forms: This project will include the creation, testing and publishing of forms across the participating clinics’ EMRs. A repository of forms will also be created to build a single library of forms easily accessible by all Primary Care Network (PCN) members.
  • Data Warehouse: This project involves copying data from individual EMRs across the PCNs into a single database, supporting cross-clinic primary care reporting and analytics.
  • Merged EMR: This project will migrate the EMR data currently stored in multiple MedAccess EMR instances (one per clinic) into a single shared instance of MedAccess (for clinic network).

Project collaboration has been a key component of each phase of the project. Initially an in-depth needs assessment was conducted with multidisciplinary clinical teams in the SOS region to understand the challenges faced by those teams as they deliver team-based care. The multidisciplinary clinical teams were chosen because they were already delivering team-based care and include members from both private practice (i.e., physicians, medical office assistants, social workers) and the Health Authority (i.e., mental health and substance use clinicians, nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists).

When the solutions were identified, multiple teams across TELUS Health collaborated to support planning for the solution and design of how to integrate the solution. Different governance models were built to support internal, external and cross collaboration. Through consistent virtual and in-person working group meetings, decisions were made jointly on how to implement the Innovation Hub Solution.

This project is the first of its kind in BC, and as such, there were challenges the teams faced with a new type of project. However, due to the strong relationships in the project teams, it was easier to mitigate risks and help find new solutions. Knowledge transfer has been completed through regular status updates, steering committees, and through presentations to a variety of stakeholders about Innovation Hub.

Through weekly check-ins with each of the teams we were able to keep on track of action items and ensure everyone was in the loop. The project team made key design decisions collaboratively. Our team has helped leverage best practices by building an Innovation Hub workbook that can be used to help the onboarding of other Innovation Hub projects. Project management processes were employed throughout this project through an integrated project schedule, project check-ins, and a monthly status report. Because working with a large number of stakeholders can be challenging, we used virtual, in person and remote methods to ensure communication was constant. Working group sessions with providers and Divisions of Family Practice staff helped close the feedback loop and share critical information with key clinic staff.

The Innovation Hub has implemented some of its solutions, and is continuing to work through implementation across the clinics. The Forms solutions have been implemented, providing a central library of standardized, up-to-date forms for the region improving EMR efficiencies, and standardizing workflows across clinics. Through the implementation of CDX Medialog Phase I, we have already heard positive feedback from users about the ease of the new eReferral process. As of Spring 2020, some clinics have already migrated to the new Merged EMR Instance, enabling the vision of “one patient, one record” for clinics in the primary care network, which in turn provides better communication between providers, increased privacy and security, and a stronger support network for providers. The remaining clinics will be migrated onto a shared EMR instance by the end of the year. Through the use of the Data Warehouse, the Divisions of Family Practice staff will be able to report on metrics through current data to make informed decisions on resourcing and clinical quality improvement initiatives. Through monthly working groups, our Innovation Hub changes are socialized across clinic staff, which has created excitement for the changes and patient impacts.

Learn more about the 2020 Canadian Health Informatics Awards here.