Axing the Fax: Epic integration, Ontario Hospital Expansion Continues

The Ocean eReferral Network is now integrated with Epic EHR, and is expanding rapidly in Ontario with recent efforts led by St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, Michael Garron Hospital, and Joseph Brant Hospital with the help of the Ontario eServices Program.

For those who don’t work in healthcare, the idea of using outdated fax technology for something as mission critical as transferring patient care seems outrageous. However, “Axing the fax” in healthcare, specifically for patient referrals, remains a significant challenge. Unfortunately, eliminating this tool is not as simple as just pulling an “Office Space” on the fax machine.

Healthcare referrals fundamentally involve a critical and complex process of delivering patient care by multiple providers. Successfully replacing faxed referrals requires a digital alternative that is not only better and easier for healthcare providers and staff to use,  but one that is built around the needs of all the systems and people involved – first and foremost, the patient.

At CognisantMD, we’ve been working for the past six years to create an integrated, networked solution that does exactly that.  As we built the Ocean eReferral Network , we focused on a few key principles:

  • To be effective, the solution needs to support real-time collaboration for each and every referral, from the simple to the most complex;
  • Critical patient updates – such as a specialist scheduling an appointment date for a virtual consult – need to go directly to the patient through a simple, automated system that keeps them in the loop;
  • The network needs to provide open, standards-based interoperability to support connections with all the systems involved, from the primary care provider’s EMR system to the hospital HIS system. Clinicians are too busy to be re-keying information from one system to another, to say nothing of the risk of introducing errors.

Today, we’re thrilled to share that the work we have done to create the Ocean eReferral Network, with the support of the Ontario eServices Program, is well on its way to helping Ontario’s healthcare to finally “Axe the Fax”.

Read on to learn more about some of our most exciting, recent milestones:

  1. Ocean is now integrated with Epic EHR to facilitate secure electronic referrals for healthcare on the Ocean eReferral Network. The integration work was completed by the team at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton (SJHH) using SMART on FHIR, a world-leading open standard of secure data transfer for heath care technology.
    Read the full announcement here.
  2. The Ocean eReferral Network expansion continues in Toronto, with the leadership of the team at Michael Garron Hospital. The hospital recently announced the launch of Ocean, along with a hospital-wide central intake system that enables community physicians to more seamlessly submit patient referrals electronically to specialists and organizations
    Read more about this exciting program here.
  3. Over 23,000 eReferrals were sent in March alone, a 32% increase over February. Along with this impressive growth in patient referrals, the Network also saw 127 healthcare providers join the network and send their first eReferral, and another 58 specialists and healthcare services started receiving eReferrals through Ocean.
    Learn more about the Ontario eServices Program here.

We look forward to watching the Network grow, as we continue to connect systems, healthcare providers, and patients to improve patient care and help to modernize healthcare in Ontario.

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