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architect's renderings of a proposed new building for SickKids

September 2018

Welcome to the new SickKids eNewsletter. Distributed quarterly, this publication will focus on a topic and highlight where we’ve been, where we are and where we are going: the THEN, the NOW and the NEXT. Please enjoy our most recent publication, and if you like what you see, subscribe now

Message from Dr. Michael Apkon | Then -  SickKids VS Paper | Now - Our digital revolution | Next -  Improving access for patients and families


Mike Apkon


As a paediatric hospital, fall has always symbolized new beginnings. We welcome back our bedside teaching and classroom programs while supporting our patients and families as they may be returning to schools in their own communities.

This fall is bringing some exciting and novel changes to SickKids as well. We recently launched a fully integrated, state-of-the-art health information system and we’re already seeing the benefits. Over the next few weeks, we will have completed the roll-out of our new secure, online patient portal, which not only improves access to health information for patients and families but empowers them to ask questions and communicate with their health-care providers. We look forward to continuously developing and implementing the tools our new system can support in order to enhance the patient experience.

The new season also represents a bittersweet transition for me personally. As you may know, I have made the very difficult decision to leave SickKids to become the President and Chief Executive Officer at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts this fall. When I reflect on the past five years, I am incredibly proud of what we’ve accomplished as an organization and I feel honoured to have been part of many exciting advances. I will be watching closely to see the many more yet to come as I know SickKids will continue to shine a bright light and shape the field of paediatric care.

Thank you all for everything you contribute to the remarkable impact we have as an organization and for your role in supporting everything we’ve accomplished together.

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Sometimes in the midst of moving forward, it is easy to forget how far we have come. Here, you can see a real SickKids medical record from 1895. It wasn’t so long ago that we relied on paper. Up until a few months ago, some areas of the hospital were still using paper for some elements of record-keeping and documentation. Staff were required to spend time looking for information in multiple places when looking after patients. This meant more time at the computer, on the phone and looking through paper documents, and less time at the bedside with their patients. This disjointed way of storing patient information was outdated, so we embarked on a digital revolution.

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The 2017-18 Annual Report is out now and it features many of the ways we’re shaking up our digital approach to research and patient care. We recently took on our largest business and clinical transformation project to date, culminating with the launch of a fully integrated health information system, Epic. This transformation consolidated all patient information into a single, electronic chart that’s easily accessible to all clinicians.

Epic enables clinicians to provide better care and helps patients and families by creating one streamlined record that can be accessed by all of their health-care providers at SickKids. Families can be confident that anyone they encounter on their journey throughout the hospital has a complete, accurate, and up-to-date record of their medical history. Advancements such as adding barcodes to patient ID bands and medications, provides an additional level of patient safety by linking the right medication to the right patient at the right time.

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At SickKids, we always strive to enhance the patient and family experience and to support staff in providing the best child and family-centred care possible. One of the ways we are doing this is through the roll-out of our new patient portal, MyChart. MyChart is a secure, online portal that provides patients and legal guardians access to parts of their SickKids’ electronic health record, anywhere, at any time. The portal enables patients to be more engaged and provides a more collaborative approach to their care. By the end of September, all SickKids clinics will be able to offer MyChart and SickKids patients will be able to communicate directly through the portal with their health-care providers at the hospital.

Launching Epic and MyChart is a huge step forward, but there is still so much more we can do. We’re looking into the many ways we can leverage our new technologies to continuously improve on the patient and family experience. This is only the beginning for SickKids as we build our hospital of the future. We look forward to continuing on our journey.

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