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Centre de santé communautaire de Sudbury-Est leads the way for Francophone, Purkinje-based centres in TELUS PS Suite EMR transition

Being the first fully bilingual centre to go live on TELUS PS Suite is a significant achievement. Yet, even though they are a smaller centre, with fewer resources, Centre de santé communautaire de Sudbury-Est (SECSC) was more than up to the task. SECSC also had the distinction of being the first centre to migrate from Purkinje to TELUS PS Suite. We spoke with the Executive Director Michel Mayer about his centre’s implementation and experiences at going live.

Starting on a positive high note, Mayer emphatically stated: “The vendor [TELUS] was very engaged and invested in helping SECSC succeed during the entire migration and implementation process. However, there were, and continue to be, significant areas that require improvement.” Following are some of the areas of concern along with recommendations from Mayer.

Duration – An almost 13-month implementation kept the centre in a continuous state of flux. Although people generally understood that this was due to the vendor’s first Purkinje to PS Suite migration for a Centre de santé communautaire, keeping people focused and engaged was an ongoing challenge. Mayer hopes that lessons learned during the migration will help the vendor shorten the duration for other Purkinje centres.

Data migration – The complexity of migrating data from one EMR to another was made more challenging by the lack of cooperation from the legacy vendor in the early stages of the migration. Fortunately, this situation eventually improved. Mayer noted that success was dependent on the contribution of both vendors and recommended that the remaining Purkinje centres emphasize that expectation early in the process.

Data validation – SECSC continues to struggle with data quality issues in the new EMR. Data validators had many challenges including an inadequate understanding of the new system. Some of the data in Purkinje was not easily moved to PS Suite and the centre has had to implement a chart cleanup process. They estimate this will take about nine months to complete. It is recommended to begin working on data remediation in the legacy EMR now.

Hardware/Software and Internet Infrastructure – As part of the Nightingale on Demand implementation, centres had to conduct an entire inventory and analysis of their hardware, software and Internet infrastructure. The Purkinje legacy EMR was locally based at each centre and the change to the cloud-based version (ASP) of PSS EMR was a significant one. For SECSC, this was a brand new process. Understanding the hardware and Internet infrastructure requirements that were needed to access the EMR and ensuring that they met optimal standards such as bandwidth, privacy and security was crucial to their success. Mayer recommended that centres start the hardware/software and Internet infrastructure process as soon as possible.

Change management – An area of substantial concern was change management. Mayer identified several areas that all centres should pay particular attention to:

      • Roles – As recommended by South Riverdale CHC, having well-defined roles and responsibilities for staff on the implementation team was very important. Smaller centres with fewer resources could find themselves stretched. 
      • Workflows – The centre did not feel enough time was spent on workflows and helping users understand how their existing workflow would either change or be non-existent. They also felt that the vendor did not quite understand CHCs and how they worked. Also, the vendor did not understand or clearly articulate the reason for, and use of, the Alliance standardized templates and this caused confusion after go live.
      • Training – Training was not specific to CHCs and therefore missed many key elements. The trainer could not address important areas of workflows, the use of eForms and other CHC-specific functionality. With no direct correlation to their own work, some staff were not able to properly internalize the training.
      • Support – After go-live, support - including learning groups and super users - have been very important components to staff’s ability to get their work done.

Mayer praised the staff at SECSC for the work done on this project, saying unequivocally that without their tireless and focused commitment, the implementation would never have succeeded. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to everyone at Centre de santé communautaire de Sudbury-Est for their diligence, hard work and commitment to success in this implementation.