A Medical Device Daily

Eclipsys (Atlanta) reported that Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre (Sunnybrook, Toronto), the largest trauma center in Canada and one of two major trauma centers in Toronto, has selected the Sunrise Patient Flow solution to optimize operational efficiency. Sunnybrook, which treats about 1 million patients on an annual basis, expects Eclipsys' integrated and clinically focused software solution to greatly improve patient throughput in its emergency room and to enhance overall hospital capacity and operational efficiency, while sustaining quality patient care and satisfaction.

"As a busy trauma center, the ability to optimize our capacity and operational efficiency while delivering quick access to care in our emergency room and to patients waiting for surgeries is essential," said Sam Marafioti, CIO and vice president, corporate strategy and development at Sunnybrook. "The Eclipsys Sunrise Patient Flow solution was designed to help hospitals increase patient throughput without capital investment in new facilities or beds. We expect this system to help us make the most of our existing resources and enable faster patient placements to meet the care needs of the metropolitan Toronto area."

Sunrise Patient Flow also is expected to support Sunnybrook in adhering to the Wait Time Strategy of the Ontario Ministry of Health (MOH) and Long-Term Care and MOH's comprehensive Emergency Room (ER) Strategy announced in May 2008, which sets provincial targets for time spent in the ER.

The Wait Time Strategy is a government plan to increase access and reduce wait times for five major health services: cancer surgery, cardiac procedures, cataract surgery, hip and knee replacements, as well as MRI and CT exams. The ER Strategy now includes the Emergency Department Reporting system, which gathers information from 128 hospitals, including Sunnybrook, for public reporting of the time Ontarians spend in the ER.

The goal of the ER Strategy is to reduce ER wait times and improve access to family healthcare, a significant issue within the Canadian healthcare system. Sunrise Patient Flow will enable Sunnybrook to easily report key metric-related ER wait times to the Local Health Integration Network, minimizing the burden associated with manually tracking and reporting such data, Marafioti noted.

According to the company, the ability to better manage capacity and provide care in a timely manner – both to emergency department patients and to those awaiting other inpatient and outpatient services – is expected to help Sunnybrook meet the MOH's prescribed access benchmarks, thereby averting the financial penalties associated with providing care in an untimely manner.

"Solving the emergency department bottleneck problem will have a ripple effect and, therefore, a positive impact on our staff and patient satisfaction. The system will help us get rid of the delays associated with waiting to place patients in the appropriate beds. As a result, we will be able to decrease wait times throughout the organization," said Keith Rose, MD, executive VP and chief medical officer at Sunnybrook. "Overall, getting the right care to the right patient in the right bed on the right floor can help meet the Ministry of Health's directive to improve access, quality and cost. We are happy to be one of the first providers in Canada to address the operational efficiency challenge with innovative technology – and hope to serve as a model for other hospitals struggling with the same issues."

Sunrise Patient Flow facilitates smooth, well-coordinated patient flow from arrival to discharge with minimal bottlenecks, Eclipsys said. Instead of making multiple phone calls – to find a bed, to request a porter, to get a room cleaned – the system electronically automates all of these communications. Visual alerts and graphic screens presented via a real-time dashboard drive caregiver priorities and next steps. A performance reporting function also makes it possible to gain the insight required to implement quality improvement initiatives.

"When you are discharging or admitting patients, it is crucial for environmental, transport and clinical staff to work together. The Eclipsys system integrates these three disciplines and enables staff to communicate seamlessly. Physicians, nurses, bed managers, housekeeping, transport and others can then work together to effectively and efficiently move the patient through the system," said Debra Carew, Sunnybrook's director of operations for trauma, emergency, critical care programs and patient flow.

"We look forward to supporting Sunnybrook as it undertakes a leadership role to improve access to care in the Ontario province. The Sunrise Patient Flow solution has been proven to not only reduce emergency department overcrowding, but also to reduce length of stay and operating costs, while sustaining quality of care. We anticipate this technology implementation to result in tremendous positive outcomes," said Eric Rosow, Eclipsys' VP and general manager of Patient Flow Solutions.