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CPSI Share                                                  
11/23/2010 5:00 PM

​​​​​​​Evidence-based information to inform decisions and barcode scanning for bedside medication delivery

North York General Hospital (North York) in Toronto, ON is implementing new technology that will reduce medication errors and provide clinical staff with the latest evidence-based information to inform their decisions. The Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI) congratulates North York on this initiative to improve patient safety and enhance the quality of patient care.

“North York is an example of one of the pockets of excellence we are seeing in improving patient safety across the country,” says Hugh MacLeod, CEO of CPSI.  “Using evidence based information to inform decisions and barcode scanning for medication delivery at bedside will help reduce medication errors. CPSI would like to recognize North York for their leadership in integrating this technology into their hospital electronic health record system.”

The ‘eCare’ initiative moves beyond manual systems that are vulnerable to errors and summarizes mountains of medical literature for healthcare providers, all to benefit patients. The new system includes barcode scanning to uniquely identify each medication and each patient. This will reduce the risk for medication errors by alerting healthcare providers if they are about to make an error when administering a medication. 

“A significant proportion of preventable errors involve medications prescribed and administered using traditional, manual systems,” says Dr. Jeremy Theal, Director of Medical Informatics and a gastroenterologist at North York.  “By integrating the latest medical literature and implementing barcode scanning with electronic orders, we are raising the bar on patient care and preventing errors to significantly improve patient safety.  Ultimately, we have new tools that research shows will help people get better faster, and save lives.”

A key feature of ‘eCare’ is the computerized provider order entry (CPOE) which allows physicians to enter their orders electronically instead of on paper, reducing the possibility for misinterpretation and increasing information-sharing among healthcare providers.  The CPOE solution incorporates the latest medical knowledge into the clinicians' workflow, including clinical decision support and a library of over 300 evidence-based order sets. North York is the first hospital in Canada to implement an electronic order entry system that integrates regularly-updated evidence from the medical literature into the doctor's decision-making process.

“This hospital-driven initiative is the result of outstanding teamwork involving informatics personnel, nurses, pharmacists, physicians, dieticians, physiotherapists and more,” says Dr. Tim Rutledge, Interim President and CEO at North York.  “The tremendous efforts of all involved will ultimately benefit our patients.  ‘eCare’ is a significant step forward in patient safety, quality of care and achieving a paperless medical record.”