Toronto (July 12, 2005) - Faster admissions and smoother discharges, enhanced continuity of care and reduction in the tiresome need for patients to repeat their personal and health information each time they move from health care facility to health care facility; these are just some of the benefits of Shared Information Management Services (SIMS) in Toronto. West Park Healthcare Centre is the latest hospital to join the IT partnership that is moving the health care system in Toronto along the path to a fully integrated electronic patient record. Other members of the partnership include Bridgepoint Health, North York Community Care Access Centre, St. John's Rehab, Toronto Community Care Access Centre and University Health Network.

"The Board of Directors at West Park Healthcare Centre set three strategic goals for the facility in 2004: the creation of partnerships in relevant aspects of our operations, facilitation of care across the continuum and the promotion of integration within the health care system," says President and CEO Barry Monaghan. "We determined that these were key to improving health services for the public. But we knew that to make those goals a reality, we needed to have information and technology as enablers."

Technology is expensive for hospitals to develop and implement alone. "West Park is very pleased to join the SIMS partnership," says Monaghan. "It is a collaboration that will make effective use of resources and maximize the strengths of each of the partner organizations.

The partnership ties together community, rehabilitation, specialized complex continuing, primary and acute care for the benefit of the consumer. It is an important step along the path to achieving the national agenda of establishment of a fully integrated patient record."

The six organizations are establishing a shared information management and technology service that supports the health care needs of the respective organizations. This means that more than 13,000 health care workers in the partnership will be able to access patient records confidentially online, enabling them to provide care in a more timely and seamless fashion. A shared system will reduce duplication of information and possibility of transcription errors in the transfer of records, helping to create a safer environment for patient care. It also will speed up referral processes, helping to reduce wait times for patients.

"This partnership positions each of the respective organizations to be leaders in the field of integration," says Matthew Anderson, VP and CIO, University Health Network. "It not only improves wait times through a coordinated system, but also enhances patient safety with a health record that spans acute care, rehab, primary care and community care."

West Park Healthcare Centre is a benchmark provider of rehabilitation, complex continuing and long-term care services. It cares for those who have respiratory disease, lost a limb, had a stroke or experienced another neurological condition, as well as for those who have a chronic illness, or who have had a severe musculoskeletal injury. The centre's mission is to assist its patients, residents and clients to overcome their health challenges to live their fullest lives possible. Through the provision of high quality patient care, teaching, research and innovative, evidence-based practices, West Park Healthcare Centre strives be an invaluable contributor to the health care system in Ontario.

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.

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.

Bridgepoint Health is an integrated health services organization focused on providing a continuum of care for patients in the GTA who 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 community-based rehabilitation service), and Bridgepoint Health Foundation.

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 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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