Board Meeting Update: Community Consultation report received; NH running $1.19 million surplus; regional clinical information system moving forward

At their meeting in Kitimat, Northern Health?s Board received a report on health region?s community consultation efforts conducted this spring and summer. The consultation process provided opportunities for residents to fill in workbooks in response to health improvement questions, involved facilitated discussion sessions across the NH region, and made available health information on specific health issues in communities across the region.

?This first Northern Health consultation process moved ahead very well, and involved very constructive working sessions with stakeholders across the North,? said Harry Gairns, Chair of NH?s Board. ?Our commitments as we move forward are to use the feedback that we received in long-term planning, and to continue talking to the people and stakeholders we serve.?

A copy of the full Community Consultation report, including an addendum of workbook and working session responses received by community, will be available at www.northernhealth.ca and as a reference copy at local libraries. An overview summary of the report can be picked up at any hospital, health centre or health unit, or on the NH website.

In financial matters, Northern Health currently has a surplus of $1.19 million in its financial statements to approximately the mid-point of the 2004-2005 fiscal year. This surplus is about a quarter of one per cent of NH?s 2004-2005 Budget of $450 million. A break-even position was expected. While much of this surplus is due to the labour dispute in the spring, higher acute care costs have also been recorded through roughly the first half of the fiscal year.

?Finance staff members have informed the Board that despite higher-than-expected spending in our acute care areas, Northern Health will complete this fiscal year at a break-even point,? said Gairns.

Northern Health is moving forward with efforts to develop a single integrated clinical information system (CIS) across the region. NH?s Board has asked staff to enter into formal negotiations to finalize a vendor to provide a platform for the system. More work is scheduled to take place before providing final approval to the multi-year CIS implementation plan, valued in excess of $20 million.

When fully implemented, the new CIS will:

?Provide faster results of diagnostic tests, delivered electronically to physicians? offices.

?Make patient information more readily available to health professionals in sites across the NH region and other health facilities outside of the north.

oThis will help health providers other than the patient?s regular caregiver to better understand the patient?s individual needs.

?Replace several out-dated systems that are nearing the end of their operational life and may soon be without technical support.

?Provide a more user-friendly way for health professionals to enter in and access information, improving workflows.

?A single CIS will provide many benefits to northern patients and health care providers, and the Board is very excited to see progress on this attempt to better use technology within our hospitals and health facilities,? said Gairns.

The next NH Board meeting will take place in November in Prince George.