Streamlining Health Records with ClinicalConnect

New system helping team members put time and energy where it matters most

By Kristian Partington

Time is a precious commodity and when it comes to managing complex questions of health care in an aging population, anything that can be done to streamline information and make it easier for health care professionals to coordinate their efforts is a welcome addition to the toolkit.

ClinicalConnect is such a tool. For more than a year now, Schlegel Villages has been part of a growing network of health care providers in southwestern Ontario linking health records to the ClinicalConnect system. Instead of the constant barrage of faxes and phone calls generally required for a clinician to track down test results or hospital records, ClinicalConnect is designed to allow trained and approved clinicians to access a person’s records in real-time.

As more health-care providers get involved, the more powerful this tool will be, and it’s starting to make a difference on the ground for some of the residents of Schlegel Villages. Winston Park registered nurse Barb Sutcliffe recalls a resident who was admitted to hospital and upon her return to the village, it wasn’t clear what the results were.

“We couldn’t find one report that was conclusive to say how we should be treating her,” Barb recalls. “It was a really poor discharge, so I went on ClinicalConnect and I was able to download all of the x-rays and venograms that were done and send them to the team members so they knew exactly what they were dealing with. They didn’t have to spend more time phoning the hospital to try and get the reports.”

In terms of resident care, the sooner a team member knows how best to serve someone they’re supporting, the better, Barb says. The ease of access the system provided also means that the time a team member might have spent waiting on the phone can be spent with the person who matters most – the resident.

Essentially, ClinicalConnect is the Regional Clinical Viewer for the connecting South West Ontario Program, which is one-third of the provincial electronic health record strategy. When completed, ClinicalConnect will be used by approximately 35,000 health care professionals within approximately 1,700 organizations in south west Ontario. Eventually, health care professionals from South West Ontario will be able to use the cSWO Regional Clinical Viewer to access patient records from across the province. Regional integration initiatives, including the cSWO Program, are enabling the province to achieve an electronic health record (EHR) solution for all Ontarians. 

Barb began looking into the system as a means of making it easier for the village’s memory clinic to begin working with new clients from the community, and she’s thrilled to see that other villages are coming on board. Hopefully all of Schlegel Villages will be connected sooner rather than later, but the training process must be followed to ensure the privacy of residents is respected.

As it stands now, Winston Park in Kitchener, along with Riverside Glen in Guelph and London’s Glendale Crossing have become part of the network, and other villages are following suit.

“It’s growing,” Barb says. “More people are getting connected in and once we can get the labs across Ontario so we can see the current blood-work, that’s going to be amazing.”

“It’s really going to help us a lot.”

Click Here for more information on ClinicalConnect.