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New Advances in Patient Safety through Nursing Assessments in Electronic Health Records

Ottawa, Thursday, April 5, 2012 – Patient safety is receiving a double boost through a national initiative led by the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA), with support from Canada Health Infoway (Infoway). National standards for nursing data, combined with high-quality standardized reports, will “go a long way” to ensuring Canadians receive the best care.

The Canadian Health Outcomes for Better Information and Care (C-HOBIC) dataset was approved in January by Infoway’s Standards Collaborative as a Canadian Approved Standard (CAS) for use in electronic health records. The C-HOBIC dataset was also recently published by the International Council of Nurses as a catalogue of the International Classification for Nursing Practice for use internationally. The dataset applies a systematic, structured terminology to nurses’ admission and discharge assessments of patients. This allows for comparison and determination of patient outcomes. Standardized patient outcome data is important for overall patient safety, health system accountability and increased sophistication of information technology in health-care settings.

“It is critical for the health and safety of Canadians that the impact of our health-care resources on actual patient outcomes be understood by health-care professionals and providers,” said CNA president Judith Shamian. “The largest health profession in Canada, nursing is leading the way in creating a national standard for assessing patient outcomes that are most affected by their work. Electronic records and information across the continuum of care will go a long way to support patient safety and high-quality care.”

The C-HOBIC project uses data to measure the impact that nurses have on patient outcomes through the collection of specific information at key times during the patient’s care in settings such as hospitals, complex continuing care, long-term care or home care. By standardizing terminology used in patient assessments, the C-HOBIC project will allow nurses to effectively evaluate patient outcomes and gather data to build comprehensive and reliable information that clinicians, planners and researchers can use to examine the quality of care.

“Infoway is pleased to be involved in this important initiative,” says Richard Alvarez, president & CEO, Infoway. “Standardized documentation of patient outcomes will result in information that can help support improved patient care, clinical value, decision-making and research capabilities.”  

Phase 2 of C-HOBIC is now underway and will be led by CNA over 23 months. Partnerships will be established at organizations in two provinces: Manitoba’s Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and Ontario’s Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant and Waterloo Wellington local health integration networks (LHINs). C-HOBIC Phase 2 will develop new synoptic reports to support the communication of information with patients as they transition across sectors of the health-care system. Significant project resources will go toward supporting nurses as they change the way they use information to enhance patient safety. The project is supported by an investment of $540,000 from Infoway.

CNA is the national professional voice of registered nurses in Canada. A federation of 11 provincial and territorial nursing associations and colleges representing 146,788 registered nurses, CNA advances the practice and profession of nursing to improve health outcomes and strengthen Canada’s publicly funded, not-for-profit health system.

Canada Health Infoway is an independent, not-for-profit organization funded by the federal government. Infoway jointly invests with every province and territory to accelerate the development and adoption of information and communications technology projects in Canada. Fully respecting patient confidentiality, these secure systems will provide clinicians and patients with the information they need to better support safe care decisions and manage their own health. Accessing this vital information quickly will help foster a more modern and sustainable health-care system for all Canadians.

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For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Kate Headley, External Communications Coordinator
Canadian Nurses Association
Telephone: 613-237-2159, ext. 561
Cell: 613-697-7507
E-mail: kheadley@cna-aiic.ca