Lower Mainland Health organizations to implement a single patient health record through clinical and systems transformation

VANCOUVER — Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH), Providence Health Care (PHC), and the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) have successfully concluded contract negotiations with IBM Canada to achieve the strategic vision of one clinical record per patient in our core health service organizations in British Columbia.

A single health record for each patient will promote high quality care by ensuring clinicians and care teams have a greater level of accurate and consistent patient information at the touch of their fingers. Amalgamating this information into a more comprehensive view of health trends and treatment outcomes ensures the health organizations can better serve British Columbians. It also enhances the ability to do even more world-class research in our own backyard.

The three health organizations currently operate five separate patient information systems, four of which are at end of life and cannot easily be upgraded or connected for greater data sharing. Clinical and systems transformation (CST) will deliver real-time health information to clinicians and researchers in a way our current heterogeneous systems do not now.

CST is more than a technology platform—it will transform the way practitioners care for patients. VCH, PHC, and PHSA are incorporating best practice standards in clinical processes and systems in all acute, ambulatory, and residential sites throughout the region. This initiative will enhance the ability of the health organizations to ensure accuracy, safety, and the integrity of patient identification.

For instance, if a patient shows up at the emergency department at St. Paul’s Hospital complaining of stomach problems, the attending physician will be able to look up the patient’s file and know he was being treated at BC Cancer Agency. The physician will know the patient’s medical history, his treatment protocols, and his medications, all of which will improve clinical decision making in the moment.

CST will also enable the standardization of administration process, such as referrals, scheduling, and registration. It will allow clinicians and management to better manage and measure wait times as well as provide comparable and timely data for efficient resource management.

PHSA, PHC, and VCH are entering into a $188 million agreement with IBM and its consortium partners (Deloitte, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and SAIC) to provide project management and design, build, and implementation service for the new system. The total cost of the initiative will be $842 million over ten years (of which $557 million is net new investment); the balance includes internal resources needed to guide the clinical transformation, IT operational support, medical equipment, contingency, and future requirements. This investment will occur within a total projected health spend for these organizations of upwards of $60 billion. The CST budget represents less than 1.5% of this amount.

HSSBC led a fair and thorough procurement for this initiative starting with a prequalification process in August 2011. On February 15, 2012, a directed Request for Proposal was issued to three vendor consortiums. With PwC Canada acting as a fairness advisor, twenty-seven representatives from PHC, VCH, and PHSA (including 15 clinicians) participated in a seven week evaluation period. The consortium led by IBM was selected by the evaluation team as the preferred proponent on June 6, 2012. Contract negotiations with Team IBM began in July 2012.

Contact: Patrick Blennerhassett
PHSA Communications

Clay Adams
VP, Communications and Public Affairs, VCH

Justin Karasick
Director, Communications and Public Affairs, PHC