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WCGH support worker Kristen Padjen works in electronic ClinDoc.

West Coast General Hospital successfully goes live with electronic clinical documentation

West Coast General Hospital (WCGH) staff are celebrating a smooth and successful IHealth go-live with electronic clinical documentation. Serving a population of 18,000 people in the Alberni Valley, staff at WCGH made the move to electronic “ClinDoc” on June 27. The change to electronic rather than paper charting for each patient contributes to safer, higher quality, and more efficient patient care.

“West Coast General Hospital has a very close-knit group supporting each other,” said Dr. Greg dePape, Medical Director for Alberni-Clayquot and the Division Head of Family Practice for WCGH. “Since the go-live date the support has been second to none, with the number of people [supporting the go-live] and their willingness to help, accommodate, watch us and teach us.”

As a clinical coordinator for surgical services in WCGH’s OR, Bill Scobbie heard from OR staff who were nervous about the go-live, wondering how it might affect the very specific documentation processes in their area, and worrying about the potential time delays they might face as they learned a new system.

“We knew it was going to be slow to start with, and we took that into consideration,” said Scobbie. “Then we had lot of [support] people here for the rollout, and it was way better than expected.”

This latest activation of electronic clinical documentation is another example of the successful change that is possible when site, project, operational and corporate support teams all work together with a common goal focused on improving quality and safety of practice.

“Among people who picked it up quickly, they were actually helping other people as they went, and explaining the things they’d figured out, like shortcuts, what to look for, how to find things they’d never thought of before,” Scobbie said. “It was quite interesting to see.”

Clinical Nurse Educator Janie Harlow was pleased to see how staff were adapting to the new system.

“Staff seem to be quickly adapting to it, and they really are just embracing it,” she said. “They’re going along and if they have questions, they’re asking.”

While many of the staff are familiar with electronic documentation due to the patient flow between Nanaimo and WCGH, many have still been tempted to duplicate their work by continuing to paper chart as well.

“It’s what they know and it’s their comfort zone,” said Harlow, who has spent time going through filing cabinets to remove paper forms no longer needed, and removing the ubiquitous clipboards that house the paper charts.

Scobbie agreed that the transition from paper to electronic charting was a bit bumpy to start. “For some people it was a little overwhelming because all of a sudden they didn’t have the pieces of paper in their hands, and now they had to really get on with it.”

Dr. Sam Williams, Medical Director for WCGH, echoed the sentiment that staff have worked incredibly well together to make a successful transition to ClinDoc. And she also acknowledged how “elbow-to-elbow” support from IHealth project staff, Provider Experience and Education (ProEX) and Clinical Informatics greatly contributed to this success.

Beyond that, Dr. Williams stressed that staff at WCGH have undergone this change during an extremely difficult period of staffing shortages across the system.

“I think if we are going to celebrate things, we also have to pay attention to the details of system quality, and this is one that I think is really important.”

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