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Real-Time Information Enhances Patient Care at Halifax Infirmary

By Evan Taylor Jun 21, 2023 | 1:35 PM

QEII Halifax Infirmary

In a groundbreaking development, the newly established Care Coordination Centre at the Halifax Infirmary site of the QEII Health Sciences Centre is revolutionizing patient care by providing healthcare teams with real-time information. This innovative initiative aims to enhance bed management, streamline procedures, and improve overall patient experiences.

The Care Coordination Centre equips healthcare teams with critical information about bed availability, diagnostic test and procedure statuses, wait lists, ambulance offloads, and patient transfers. With this real-time data at their fingertips, healthcare providers have witnessed reduced wait times and better patient outcomes. The enhanced coordination and planning capabilities have led to more efficient bed management and discharge processes, optimized staff scheduling, and improved resource utilization. Moreover, it encourages collaboration across health zones, resulting in a more integrated and seamless healthcare system.

Health and Wellness Minister Michelle Thompson expressed her support for the initiative, stating, “The more information we have, the better decisions we can make for patients in our care. A real-time view of where patients are in their care, where the pressures are, and what changes must happen in the moment to get a patient where they need to be will better support their care and recovery.” Thompson emphasized the importance of initiatives such as the Care Coordination Centre in facilitating patients’ return to their homes promptly and creating additional capacity in hospitals for those requiring critical care.

The Care Coordination Centre is just one component of a comprehensive strategy aimed at expediting patient care and enabling swifter discharges. Additional initiatives include SAFER-f, which focuses on quality improvements such as earlier completion of lab tests, better coordination among multidisciplinary teams, and enhanced communication with patients and their families. SAFER-f has been successfully tested in eight medical units across the province and will be expanded to more units this year.

Recognizing the unique needs of frail patients, the healthcare system has appointed four frailty leads, one in each health zone. These leads will oversee the coordination, training, and implementation of frailty assessments and mobility programs in hospitals. Furthermore, healthcare professionals will be hired to establish mobility teams at all regional hospitals. These teams will facilitate early mobilization of patients, aiding their recovery, reducing hospital stays, increasing bed capacity, and alleviating pressures in emergency departments and surgical wait times.

To address the issue of limited access to interprofessional teams and support services, the government plans to hire approximately 250 additional healthcare providers, including physiotherapists, dietitians, pharmacists, occupational therapists, and discharge planners. Expanding the availability of these services during evenings and weekends will shorten patients’ hospital stays.

The aforementioned initiatives align with the government’s plan to enhance healthcare under Action for Health. By prioritizing the timely delivery of care to expedite patients’ return home, Nova Scotia aims to improve overall healthcare and create a sustainable healthcare system.

Karen Oldfield, President and CEO of Nova Scotia Health, highlighted the significance of the digital health transformation taking place in Nova Scotia. Oldfield stated, “The Care Coordination Centre is supporting staff and physicians with the information they need to make care decisions more easily – that means they can spend more time providing care rather than coordinating it, which is improving patient care and experience.”

Gail Tomblin Murphy, Vice-President of Research, Innovation and Discovery, and Chief Nurse Executive at Nova Scotia Health, emphasized that the Care Coordination Centre positions Nova Scotia as a national and global leader in artificial intelligence and a learning organization. Murphy underscored the importance of key clinical and flow coordination expertise within the centre, which facilitates access to effective and relevant care for all Nova Scotians.

Dr. Tanya Munroe, co-lead of the Access and Flow Network at Nova Scotia Health, emphasized the positive impact of the centre on patient care. She noted, “The centre supports our teams to make on-the-spot decisions on what must happen to get the patient the care they need most efficiently. This means the patient goes home sooner, which opens beds for people waiting in emergency or for patients in the community waiting for surgery. Taken together with SAFER-f and other initiatives across the system, the centre will make meaningful reductions in patient wait times for care.”

Key facts about the initiative include Nova Scotia being the first region in Canada to establish a provincewide health coordination centre focused on access to care. The SAFER-f acronym stands for Senior review, All patients, Flow, Early discharge, Review, frailty, reflecting the focus of the program. Statistics reveal that over one in four individuals visiting regional emergency departments are over the age of 65, with one in five likely to be frail. Furthermore, approximately 33% of hospital admissions occur between Friday and Sunday, with patients admitted during this period typically staying one day longer on average than those admitted from Monday to Thursday.



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