Healthy Living in the North

Intensive Care Unit at University Hospital of Northern BC goes paperless

Two staff standing with a tall stack of chart copies.
Melanie Baker (left) and Teresa Ward with 5 weeks’ worth of chart copies.

Each month, the busy Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the hospital in Prince George prints out thousands of pages of test results and patient charts – 5,500 pages or more.

A new project called Turning off Paper, or TOP, aims to help.

By having staff view the information on computer screens instead, the project will save the time and money spent handling, scanning, filing, and shredding paper. It will also help keep patient info more accurate, because it removes the chance of duplicate paper records.

Northern Health is working closely with physicians and staff to make this a seamless change.

“Most of the staff and physicians have been using the electronic lab reports for some time,” says Darcy Hamel, Manager of the ICU. “To see the drastic decrease of wasted paper and not affect how staff do their job has been fantastic.”

Another positive outcome from this change has been less chance of a medical error.

As Darcy says, “With the computer, you’re always looking at the most recent results. There’s one source of truth and you always see the most updated version.”

This change has also let nurses spend more time with their patients. “The nurses don’t need to leave a bedside,” says Darcy, “because computers are more readily available for them to see results.”

In case of power outages, there’s a “downtime” computer with all the latest data — each unit has one available.

Jesse Priseman, Projects and Planning Manager, says, “The goal is that ICU will be the first department at UHNBC to be completely electronic. It’s been a positive change, and we look forward to making other departments more environmentally friendly in 2019.”

Sanja Knezevic

About Sanja Knezevic

Sanja is a communications advisor with Northern Health’s medical affairs department and is based in Prince George. She moved to Canada in 1995 from former Yugoslavia to Fort Nelson where she lived for a few years before moving to Prince George in 2000. Sanja enjoys photography, curling up with a good book, cooking and spending time with her friends and family.

Share

Team health care shines in Dawson Creek – because a patient spoke up

When interprofessional health care teams, emergency rooms, and patients all work together, the result can be great health care. A case in point: a recent story from Dawson Creek. While he was at the Dawson Creek emergency room for another … [Continue reading]

Social and emotional well-being at school: The Bulkey Valley School District supports mental wellness in the classroom

(Editor’s note: This article first appeared in Northern Health’s Healthier You – Summer 2018 edition on Healthy Schools. Read the full issue here.)Co-authored by Stacie Weich, regional lead for mental wellness & prevention of substance harms, and … [Continue reading]

Westbound with Northern Health Connections: A testimonial on riding the bus

When I moved to the Communications department of Northern Health, I was very excited to take on the Northern Health Connections (NHC) program as part of my portfolio. If you’re not familiar with NHC, it’s Northern Health’s bus transportation service … [Continue reading]

Are you showing up for your city?

What a great turnout for Fort St. James's new hospital announcement! When is the last time you went to an event to support your community? I racked my brain, combed through it back and forth for memories of civic events attended, and, I have to … [Continue reading]

Proactive health care helps keep Chetwynd mill workers healthy

L - R: Charla Balisky, Chelsea Newman, and Jennifer Peterat (Primary Care Nurses) and Jaidan Ward (BCEHS - community paramedic and station chief for ambulance). The Canadian Men’s Health Foundation estimates that a staggering 72% of Canadian men … [Continue reading]