Benevolent ‘big brother HUGO’ will be helping watch over health care at Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital beginning January 22nd.
“We already provide safe patient care,” said TDMH Vice President/Chief Nursing Executive Lisa Gardner. “This just takes us to the next level.”
The Healthcare UnderGoing Optimization (HUGO) program utilizes electronic technology for ordering tests, prescribing medication and adding barcoding, a shift from a paper process in order to help ensure the right patient is receiving the right medication at the right time.
Currently, the process is based on written instructions from physicians.
“With HUGO, we are reading a typed printout,” said Gardner. “This will be more accurate.”
The ‘magic wands’ carried by some department store staffers provide a very loose analogy. By waving them over product bar codes, or inputting pertinent data, service associates can provide a wide variety of information on the product, including its price and availability both locally and regionally.
A bracelet bar code worn by patients will also offer access to a range of pertinent information, including pharmaceutical requirements.
“Ensuring a patient receives the appropriate medication in enhanced,” said Gardner.
Sharing information between institutions is also enhanced. HUGO is a regional initiative and will be implemented at 10 other area hospitals over the next six months. Diagnostic imaging is currently transferrable between institutions. With HUGO, so will be lab work, doctors’ orders and medications.
“Those are the new ones,” said Gardner. “You could go to a hospital in Grand Bend because you are up there on the weekend and they could see what we have done so far.”
Team members and physicians at TDMH have been undergoing months of preparation for going live.
“The impact to patient safety and quality of care will be significant and will keep TDMH at the forefront of healthcare delivery,” said Crystal Houze, Integrated President and CEO via a press release. “In preparation for the January 22nd launch, physicians and team members are undergoing training sessions and system testing.”
Houze said patient flow in the emergency department may be a bit slower during the launch and asked for the public’s patience.
More time is required for inputting, said Gardner, as well as looking things up. There is a learning curve for nurses, physicians and all health care professionals, she continued.
“When you have something of this magnitude, it’s an adjustment,” said Gardner. “It’s going to take time for everyone to adjust to the new technology.
“The end benefit is continuous improvement in patient safety, but it does take that time to do it.”
Any significant change comes with attendant concerns, said Gardner, but TDMH staff members have in the main been supportive of the initiative.
“In general, what I am seeing here is nothing but supportive team members. They understand why we want to move forward with this.”