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Hospitals introduce new Information Technology staffing model to enhance patient care




For Immediate Release:

March 8, 2011

The new staff structure includes a new business relationship with Cerner Corp.

LONDON, Ontario – London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) and St. Joseph’s Health Care, London (St. Joseph’s) will begin implementing a new staffing model for the city-wide Information Technology Services (ITS) department. This new structure is designed to help achieve the ITS vision of improving clinical-care support at both hospitals.

One of the ways the ITS department is achieving this vision of better support for clinical care is through a new service level agreement with Cerner Corporation, the hospitals’ electronic patient record vendor for the past 15 years. This agreement has been signed by both the LHSC and St. Joseph’s Boards and CEOs, and endorsed by CEOs from our regional hospital partners in Ingersoll, Tillsonburg, Listowel, Wingham, Strathroy, Exeter, St. Thomas and Woodstock. Implementation of the agreement will occur over a two-year period, beginning in July.

“This agreement offers many benefits designed to ensure our ITS department can shift its focus away from the maintenance of information systems and move it towards better support of the clinical staff who use those systems to improve patient care,” said Glen Kearns, Integrated Vice President of Information Technology Services.

The new agreement holds Cerner more accountable for system performance, with built-in operational support for the next 10 years, and strengthens support for electronic patient record (EPR) software applications and hardware requirements.

“Patient safety is paramount,” said Dr. Tom Janzen, Medical Director, Clinical Informatics. “This new staff structure ensures our clinical teams receive the support we need to get the right information from the system at the right time and make the best care decisions for our patients.”

Regrettably, the new staff structure will impact positions in the hospitals’ ITS department due to the new business relationship with Cerner, as well as operational efficiencies at LHSC. Up to 10 per cent - 27 positions - will be phased out of the hospitals by July, 2013 under the new agreement. However, actual job loss will be less than 27 individuals due to attrition and various internal options. An additional nine positions across the ITS department have been identified as operational efficiencies at LHSC, which, because of attrition and other opportunities with the department, will result in one full-time layoff.

LHSC and St. Joseph’s are currently identifying further opportunities to mitigate job joss and are committed to supporting individuals impacted as well as the ITS team as a whole during this time of change.

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About London Health Sciences Centre

London Health Sciences Centre has been in the forefront of medicine in Canada for 135 years and offers the broadest range of specialized clinical services in Ontario. Building on the traditions of its founding hospitals to provide compassionate care in an academic teaching setting, London Health Sciences Centre is home to Children’s Hospital, South Street Hospital, University Hospital, Victoria Hospital, two family medical centres, and two research institutes – Children’s Health Research Institute and Lawson Health Research Institute, a joint research initiative with St. Joseph’s Health Care, London. As a leader in medical discovery and health research, London Health Sciences Centre has a history of over 50 international and national firsts and attracts top clinicians and researchers from around the world. As a regional referral centre, London Health Sciences Centre cares for the most medically complex patients including critically injured adults and children in Southwestern Ontario and beyond. The hospital’s nearly 15,000 staff, physicians, students and volunteers provide care for more than one million patient visits a year.

About St. Joseph’s Health Care London

St. Joseph’s Health Care, London is a major patient care, teaching and research centre with a distinguished legacy of service to London, Southwestern Ontario and the veterans of Canada, dating back more than 130 years. St. Joseph’s five key role areas include acute/ambulatory care, complex care and veterans care, long-term care, rehabilitation and specialized geriatrics and specialized mental health care. Facilities and services including St. Joseph’s Hospital, Parkwood Hospital, Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care and Regional Mental Health Care London and St. Thomas are part of the St. Joseph’s family. Our research arm, the Lawson Health Research Institute, continues to direct their research to the development of new knowledge that is continually being applied directly to patient care. More than 400,000 patients annually receive care from close to 6,000 physicians and staff at St. Joseph’s. St. Joseph’s is affiliated with the University of Western Ontario.

For media inquiries contact:                                                                                            

Dahlia Reich
St. Joseph’s Health Care London
Communication & Public Affairs
519-646-6100 ext. 65294

After-hours assistance:

Call St. Joseph’s switchboard at 519-646-6100 and ask to page the communicator on-call.