News release

Information Technology to Improve Efficiency in Health Care

Nova Scotians will see better access to care and cost savings from projects that improve how hospitals manage beds and schedule staff.

The province today, May 5, released requests for proposals for two information technology projects for district health authorities, to be carried out over the next year. The projects reflect government's plan to provide better care sooner and get the province's finances back to balance by finding savings and efficiencies.

"Information technology can improve patient care while lowering costs," said Maureen MacDonald, Minister of Health and Wellness. "This is another example of the work we do each day with the district health authorities to ensure we can provide excellent health care now and into the future."

One request for proposals is for a province-wide electronic bed management system. It will provide health authorities up-to-date information on vacant beds. That will minimize emergency room backlogs, ensure patients are in hospital only as long as they need to be, and improve the ability to forecast the need for home care and long-term care.

Annapolis Valley District Health Authority is providing support for the bed project.

"Having provincial co-operation on this project will ensure more appropriate bed use throughout Nova Scotia's health system," said Janet Knox, president and CEO of Annapolis Valley Health. "This project will help identify practices in hospitals that keep patients in hospital too long or for the wrong reasons. It will determine appropriate use of resources, improve patient flow and help physicians and health teams to adopt more effective practices in patient care."

A second request for proposals is for an online staff scheduling system that should lead to more efficient and effective use of health care workers. Three district health authorities are participating: Capital District, IWK and the Cumberland Health Authority. Schedules will be centralised and hosted online, which streamlines the process, improving workplaces and ultimately improving patient care.

Support for the project comes from Capital District Health Authority.

"This will help ensure that our limited health human resources are used optimally, while reducing costs, improving staff productivity and retention, and facilitating practices to support safe, quality patient care," said Chris Power, president and CEO of Capital Health. "At the same time, the sustainability of the overall health system is being improved because we can reduce costs for overtime, sick time and recruitment."

The requests for proposals close in 30 days. The successful bidders will have about a year to build and implement the new systems.

FOR BROADCAST USE:

Nova Scotians should see better access to care and cost savings with two information technology projects.

A provincewide electronic bed management system will minimize emergency room backlogs and ensure patients are in hospital only as long as they need to be. And a staff scheduling project will help build healthier and more productive work environments for staff. It will also improve care for patients.

The work is part of the government's plan to provide better care sooner and to get the province's finances back to balance by finding savings and efficiencies.

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Media Contact:

Nicole Watkins Campbell
Health and Wellness 902-424-8840 Cell: 478-5261 E-mail: