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SickKids, CHEO awarded HIMSS Stage 7: recognizing digital excellence in quality health care
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SickKids, CHEO awarded HIMSS Stage 7: recognizing digital excellence in quality health care


SickKids and CHEO ranked among the world’s safest providers of quality care.

Ottawa and Toronto, Ontario  — March 18, 2022 — Working together, The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and CHEO have both achieved HIMSS Stage 7, the world’s highest designation for using an electronic medical record (EMR) to improve patient outcomes and engagement — which makes this achievement about safety and quality of care for children and youth; not only about technology.

SickKids and CHEO are the only health-care organizations in Canada to achieve HIMSS Stage 7 for both inpatient and outpatient care — four others have been certified in one or the other, but not both.

“To boil it down to a sentence, SickKids and CHEO have been certified among the safest, most reliable health-care organizations in the world because of the way we are using our EMR,” said Mari Teitelbaum, CHEO’s Vice-president of Strategy, Quality and Family Partnership and Chief Innovation Officer. “Achieving this incredible milestone, despite the pandemic, is a testament to the passion of our staff and medical staff to provide the safest, most reliable, world-class care.”

This Stage 7 designation from Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) is the pinnacle for the HIMSS Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model (EMRAM), which measures clinical outcomes, patient engagement and clinician use of EMR technology to strengthen organizational performance and health outcomes across patient populations. In other words, the higher an organization’s certification, the better the health outcomes for patients.

SickKids and CHEO made this journey together because, for more than five years, the two organizations have developed and then shared a single instance of Epic, a world-class electronic health record. Every child’s complete health record is securely available to care teams at either institution, making it seamless for patients to move from one to the other for whatever care is required.

“From the beginning of our partnership, we have worked together to embed HIMSS Stage 7 best practices into Epic,” said Dr. Sarah Muttitt, Vice-President and Chief Information Officer, SickKids. “The hard work across both our organizations to achieve this certification marks our commitment to leveraging technology and data to achieve the highest quality care for the children and youth we serve, and delivering it in the safest way possible.”

At both organizations, the work shows tangible health benefits:

  • In 2021, SickKids admitted adult patients to its paediatric intensive care unit for the first time in its history in order to support the surge in COVID patients across Ontario. The EMR allowed SickKids to quickly develop and test relevant order sets to safely care for critically ill adult COVID patients while ensuring that paediatric ICU patients continued to receive appropriate medical care — work quickly adopted by CHEO allowing them to do the same.
  • Through the pandemic, CHEO delivered on new virtual models of care.  Beyond virtual visits (offered by 92% of our clinics, making up 45% of our outpatient appointments in 2021), we also introduced a virtual Emergency Department (90% of these visits did not have to visit the hospital) and virtual family-centered rounds (40% of all rounds happened virtually in 2021) – keeping as many people (patients, caregivers and providers) safe at home as possible.

HIMSS is a non-profit organization based in Chicago. For six decades, HIMSS has focussed on measurably improving patient care with an approach driven by research. HIMSS provides best-practice directives shown to produce better health outcomes.

HIMSS Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model certification must be renewed every three years.

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Media contacts

Jessamine Luck, The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids)

Paddy Moore, CHEO
o. 613-737-7600, ext. 3536 | c. 613-769-5553 |

About The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids)

The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) is recognized as one of the world’s foremost paediatric health-care institutions and is Canada’s leading centre dedicated to advancing children’s health through the integration of patient care, research and education. Founded in 1875 and affiliated with the University of Toronto, SickKids is one of Canada’s most research-intensive hospitals and has generated discoveries that have helped children globally. Its mission is to provide the best in complex and specialized family-centred care; pioneer scientific and clinical advancements; share expertise; foster an academic environment that nurtures health-care professionals; and champion an accessible, comprehensive and sustainable child health system. SickKids is a founding member of Kids Health Alliance, a network of partners working to create a high quality, consistent and coordinated approach to paediatric health care that is centred around children, youth and their families. SickKids is proud of its vision for Healthier Children. A Better World.

About CHEO

Dedicated to the best life for every child and youth, CHEO is a global leader in pediatric health care and research. Based in Ottawa, CHEO includes a hospital, children’s treatment centre, school and research institute, with satellite services located throughout Eastern Ontario. CHEO provides excellence in complex pediatric care, research and education. We are committed to partnering with families and the community to provide exceptional care — where, when and how it’s needed. CHEO is a partner of the Kids Come First Health Team, a network of partners working to create a high quality, standardized and coordinated system for pediatric health care that is centred around children, youth and their families. Every year, CHEO helps more than 500,000 children and youth from Eastern Ontario, western Quebec, Nunavut and Northern Ontario.

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