Hospitals, Health IT

How this Canadian hospital is embracing health IT

Peter Bak, CIO of Humber River Hospital in Toronto, highlighted his organization’s digital efforts around systems automation, connectivity and an analytics-focused command center.

Humber River Hospital, which is situated in Toronto, Ontario, is eagerly integrating IT into various facets of its operations. In a phone interview, CIO Peter Bak highlighted a bit of the work the organization has done.

“Hospitals are generally not organizations that adopt change dramatically,” Bak said. In fact, most healthcare organizations struggle with it.

But that’s where he comes in. His role has “morphed into helping define a culture of innovation” at Humber.

In addition to having its information in electronic form, the hospital has enabled digital patient engagement. Humber also utilizes systems automation, which can result in safer and more efficient workflows. One example Bak cited is the use of robotic devices that can move around the hospital and deliver supplies.

Plus, the hospital emphasizes connectivity. This includes linking people to assets. “People need to find things around the hospital,” Bak said. Humber has used IT to help hospital staff find wheelchairs or other needed supplies.

The connectivity front also includes bridging the gap between care teams. Tools from telecommunications company Ascom have come in handy here. Humber uses Ascom’s platform to improve person-to-person communication and person-to-system communication. Staff members can use the Ascom solutions to talk to each other, and the platform also ensures certain alerts and alarms are going to the right clinicians.

Humber River Hospital’s latest development involves a command center it implemented a little more than a year ago. The point of it, Bak said, is to leverage electronic data to provide the hospital and its care teams with analytics and information. Regarding the center, Humber is currently working on analytics as it relates to eliminating never events.

At the end of the day, the Canadian hospital’s efforts tie back to giving patients the best outcomes and quality of care.

“I watch how we communicate in the consumer world, and yet in healthcare, we are not using these technologies,” Bak said. “[W]e’re all languishing in archaic methods of communicating. That leads to bad outcomes for patients.”

Photo: metamorworks, Getty Images