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CHEO launches next step in its digital transformation

OTTAWA—Oct. 18, 2017—On October 21, a new patient health information system Graphic of Epic logo and rocket ship designed to improve care and safety will be turned on at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO). It’s a major step in consolidating patient health records, where every patient has one digital health record that is comprehensive and immediately available to care providers throughout the hospital and beyond.

Almost all outpatient clinics across CHEO are already using the new health information system, called Epic. Epic is a global leader: it has been implemented in 2,500 hospitals around the world and manages nearly 200 million patient health records. CHEO was the first Canadian hospital to start adopting Epic, using it for admissions and scheduling in 1994.

This Saturday, all inpatient units, Critical Care units, the Emergency Department, the Medical Day Unit and Pharmacy will start using Epic. Clinical care will become fully digital in about five months when Surgery and the Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre (OCTC) turn Epic on.

“This is one of the largest transformational projects in our history,” said Alex Munter, President and CEO of CHEO – OCTC. “In addition to delivering on a promise of one health record for each patient, the implementation of Epic allows us to use automated workflows that will improve patient safety, quality of care and experience. It will also make care more connected, efficient and expand our research capabilities.”

“We are excited by all the improvements that come with Epic,” added Munter. “But please be patient with us if some things take a little longer while we all safely adapt to this new system.”

Improvement examples

  • There will be a new medication system that uses barcodes right at the bedside. When a care provider orders a medication through the person’s health record, it is sent directly to Pharmacy (no more paper request). The medication is prepared and delivered to the bedside with a barcode that is checked against the barcode on the patient’s armband. The medication barcode path previously stopped at a unit’s secure medication cabinet. Barcode usage is known to reduce medication errors and by taking barcodes all the way to the bedside, we are adding another layer of safety.
  • A patient’s entire chart can be viewed by any clinical department, which will reduce the need to repeat information as a child or youth moves between units. It enables our physicians, nurses and health-care professionals to better understand, coordinate and customize care so we can safely treat the whole child.
  • We are extending CHEO MyChart, Epic’s online patient portal, to make it easier for patients to see parts of their health record, anytime and anywhere. In some departments, secure messaging is available through CHEO MyChart for patients and families to communicate with the clinical team. The information available in CHEO MyChart can better prepare families for their time with our health-care providers and empowers families to be partners in their care.
  • If a child or youth visits our Emergency Department, as soon as charting is completed their primary care provider will be sent a digital report detailing the visit in a form that is legible and clear.
  • When discharged from hospital, patients will be given an After Visit Summary, which will also be available in CHEO MyChart. The summary provides immediate, accurate, legible information that helps prevent misunderstanding and makes it easier for families to partner in and follow their health-care plan.

Related links

Media contact

Paddy Moore
Media Relations, CHEO – OCTC
m. 613-769-5553


The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario – Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre (CHEO –OCTC) is the leading provider of specialized pediatric health services in Canada's capital. CHEO’s programs help over 500,000 children and youth each year in Eastern Ontario, Western Quebec, Nunavut and parts of Northern Ontario. As a world-class research centre and teaching hospital, for over 40 years CHEO has changed young lives in our community, while our innovations change young lives around the world. For more than 65 years, OCTC has been providing specialized care for children and youth with disabilities, including cerebral palsy, complex needs associated with congenital conditions, developmental delay, autism spectrum disorders and brain injury. The two previously separate organizations recently joined forces to become one organization, stronger together for kids and families.

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