April 7, 2022

St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton earns HIMSS 7 accolade

Achieving success during great uncertainty: St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton earns HIMSS 7 accolade

How would you feel if you won the award of awards? If you received the highest international recognition possible, for years of determined and focused effort? If you are part of St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton’s (SJHH) Digital Solutions team… you now know the feeling very well. The organization, led by the Digital Solutions team has received the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model (EMRAM) Stage 7 designation — the highest designation possible, for its digital health information system.

It seemed like a lofty goal, eliminating in one fell swoop the use of pens to chart every aspect of patient care. But the launch in 2017 of electronic medical records (EMR) enabled St. Joe’s to reach that target, removing what had been commonplace for more than a century. Branded as Dovetale, the system successfully joined compassionate care with the most advanced healthcare technology.

“St. Joseph’s is committed to making a difference in people’s lives and the future of our community through integrated services, and internationally recognized clinical and research programs,” says Tara Coxon, Vice President and Chief Information Officer, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. “We were driven to implement a state-of-the-art EMR system by the need for tools to support both the hospital’s future academic and research missions, and the desire to enhance the quality and safety of patient care.”

St. Joseph’s leadership knew the organization would benefit as a whole by further attaining the highest level of the internationally recognized scale for digital health records, HIMSS 7. Achieving this milestone meant the organization needed to employ only digital systems and meet key performance indicators for more than 100 criteria, spanning clinical practice to records management.

With this intent over the last four years, SJHH has begun to explore all the digital capabilities of Dovetale. The benefits have been significant. Areas such as access to care, organizational flow and efficiencies, and communication with community providers have all been impacted favourably.

The patient experience has also been enhanced. As an example, Dovetale allows St. Joe’s to collect the best possible medication history for admitted patients, avoiding potential medication discrepancies and improving patient safety.

In Dovetale a patient’s story is accessible to everyone on the care team, eliminating the need to repeat the same information to multiple practitioners and leading to greater patient satisfaction.

The staff and physicians of St. Joseph’s have also embraced all that Dovetale has to offer. It’s not a stretch to say there was apprehension among the workforce of more than 6500 at the prospect of going completely digital. But in the months of planning, tweaking and training it became clear the system had been tailored to the use of frontline staff. The workflow and content in the digital tool meet the needs of the clinical teams who use it daily.

For researchers as well, Dovetale is a proven winner. Data matching specific criteria for patient studies or treatment options can be pulled with ease.

“Embracing the data that we capture from Dovetale, allows us to strive towards providing the best patient care possible,” says Andriana Lukich, Director of Digital Solutions at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. “It provides us both a birds-eye view and a granular level of insight into the challenges we face in an increasingly complex healthcare environment.”

The HIMSS 7 designation was awarded to SJHH in November 2021. Considering most of this in-depth digital transformation occurred in the last two years is serendipitous. Having access to dependable data while managing an overcapacity hospital during a pandemic better positioned St. Joe’s to handle the COVID-19 crisis than it would have prior to the implementation of Dovetale. And not just from a patient safety perspective.

Effective hospital policies and governance for data security are critical components of a successful transition to electronic medical records. The HIMSS Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model (EMRAM) guides the organization in policymaking for the appropriate use of the data Dovetale stores and the level of access available to clinicial teams and others within the organization.

“SJHH is still only beginning to realize the potential impact that Dovetale can have on the care that we are honoured to provide to our community,” says Dr. Dan Perri, Chief Medical Information Officer at St. Joe’s. “And if the last two years has taught us anything, it’s that health care organizations need to be nimble and have the best tools on-hand so we can adapt, because there will always be a new challenge to test our abilities. Achieving HIMSS 7 is an acknowledgement that we are on the right path to using data and technology to optimize the delivery of safe and effective health care.”

Download a PDF copy of HIMSS Analytics Stage 7 Case Study St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton.