Toronto (Dec. 19, 2005) - Seven and counting! That's the number of health care organizations that have partnered their information management (IM) services in an effort to provide care to patients in a more seamless, timely fashion. The Toronto Rehabilitation Institute (Toronto Rehab) is the latest organization to join the Shared Information Management Services (SIMS) Partnership.

"Joining SIMS is an important step in Toronto Rehab's ongoing development of a strong technical infrastructure and a full scale electronic health record. It will allow us to work more effectively with other hospitals in the rehab sector and allow better communication between hospitals in a timely manner," said Jim Elliott, Vice President, Finance and Support Services, Toronto Rehab.

What does this mean to patients of each of the respective organizations? Faster admissions, smoother discharges, enhanced continuity of care and reduction in the tiresome need to repeat personal and health information each time they move from one health care facility to another.

To the more than 13,500 health care workers in the Greater Toronto Area taking part in the shared IM service, it means being able to access patient information confidentially online. This helps create a safer environment for patient care while speeding up the referral process and reducing wait times.

"In the end, it's all about our clients – meeting their needs," explained Camille Orridge, Executive Director at the Toronto Community Care Access Centre. "When health care organizations work together, it enhances patient safety and allows for a more seamless transition of care."

In joining the partnership, Toronto Rehab benefits from enhanced information management services for its clinical staff, patients, researchers and managers alike. For other partners (Bridgepoint Health, North York Community Care Access Centre, St. John's Rehabilitation Hospital, Toronto Community Care Access Centre, University Health Network and West Park Healthcare Centre), the addition of Toronto Rehab strengthens their ability to implement an electronic health record for patients across the continuum, ensuring integration and consistency.

"Our patients have often visited clinics in several of the participating hospitals before they arrive at Toronto Rehab," added Dr. Gaetan Tardif, Toronto Rehab's Vice President of Patient Care and Chief Medical Officer. "Having access to accurate information about previous investigations and treatments not only saves the patient and the team time and unnecessary repeat visits, it also contributes to the best possible care being provided right from the start."

About Toronto Community Care Access Centre

The Toronto Community Care Access Centre provides health and social support services to residents living within the geographical area of the old City of Toronto. The community we serve is complex and challenging in its ethnic/cultural diversity and great variations in economic circumstances, ranging from great wealth to circumstances of poverty. We are located in a dynamic urban centre with the largest number of hospitals in the country and we are the largest referral site for patients from Toronto hospitals, 2/3 of whom do not live in our area.

About North York Community Care Access Centre

The North York Community Care Access Centre provides in-home health care, access to long-term placement, information and referral services to residents of North York. We help people of all ages and cultures receive assistance and care in their own homes by working with family members, caregivers and other health care organizations. Whether you're already using CCAC services, or you're facing a need for support services for the first time, call us. We're here to work with you.

About St. John's Rehabilitation Hospital

St. John's Rehabilitation Hospital is an Ontario leader in providing specialized inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation services for adults recovering from multiple traumatic injuries, organ transplants, amputations, cardiovascular surgery, strokes, complex neurological and orthopaedic conditions. The hospital is also the site of Canada's only burn rehabilitation program.

About Bridgepoint Health

Bridgepoint Health is an integrated health services organization focused on providing a continuum of care for patients in the GTAwho require complex care and complex rehabilitation. Bridgepoint Health comprises Bridgepoint Hospital, Bridgepoint Health Research Institute, Bridgepoint Centre for Living (a soon-to-be-constructed complex care and long-term care centre), Bridgepoint Community Rehab (a not-for-profit communitybased rehabilitation service), and Bridgepoint Health Foundation.

About Toronto Rehabilitation Institute

The Toronto Rehabilitation Institute is at the forefront of one of the most important and emerging frontiers in health care today: rehabilitation science. As a fully affiliated teaching and research hospital of the University of Toronto, Toronto Rehab is Canada's largest provider of adult rehabilitation services, complex continuing care, and long-term care. Toronto Rehab is advancing rehabilitation knowledge and practice through research, education and patient care.

About University Health Network

University Health Network is a major landmark in Canada's health care system and a teaching partner of the University of Toronto. Building on the strengths and reputation of each of our three remarkable hospitals, Toronto General Hospital, Toronto Western Hospital and Princess Margaret Hospital, UHN brings together the innovation, talent and resources needed to achieve global impact on the health care scene and provide exemplary patient care.

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