Information Technology: Helping to Provide Patient Centered Care
Clinical use of Health Information Technology (IT) is growing. The Information Technology Department is a vital component of patient care, affecting the way health care professionals, patients, and families interact to improve health care outcomes.
Information Technology is used to securely monitor, transmit, store, and retrieve information that is tied to many hospital systems at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre and St. Joseph’s Care Group (SJCG). The clinical and patient facing technologies that the IT Department provides at our Hospital have a direct impact on patient experience and the delivery of safe, quality care.
IT supports technology that impacts all areas of the hospital including notifications to porters of where and when to transport patients; free Internet services for patients and families; two-way video conferencing that connects patients and families in separate communities to their health care providers; and transmission of patient information from various medical devices into the Electronic Medical Record (EMR).
The IT department consists of 30 highly skilled individuals with on-call support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. IT professionals work towards maintaining and repairing hardware and software associated with computer systems or other components related to processing information, allowing health care providers to interact, diagnose and treat patients using patient focused technology.
“In this relatively young field of Information Technology, computer systems were basically transactional systems, used for patient registration,” said John Barro, Director, Information Technology. “Today, technology is much more integrated with electronic patient record systems and with other medical devices. The impact that technology has to patient care today is astounding. The Information Technology team provides a vital service to clinical workflow.”
In addition to our Hospital and SJCG, the IT Department also provides service and support to the 10 regional hospitals in Northwestern Ontario. Working in collaboration with the Northwest Local Health Integration Network (NW LHIN), the Northwest Health Alliance (NWHA) and eHealth Ontario, the IT Department provides local, regional and provincial hardware and software solutions that enables technology that drives quality health care outcomes for patients and families. Over 10,000 devices supported across Northwestern Ontario, including bedside monitors, glucometers, diagnostic imaging equipment and a wide variety of other clinical devices.
Information Technology at our Hospital is centered on the patient. From mobile technologies that allow health care providers and patients to engage and communicate, to the bedside monitors that provide comprehensive clinical information, the IT Department helps improve patient experiences and outcomes.