Rouge Valley Health System proposes innovative program to prioritize patient surgeries

A new program designed by a team from the Rouge Valley Health System (RVHS) will ensure that priority patients receive their surgeries first.

“This new program is about equity and fairness to make sure that you get your surgery when you need it,” said Renate Ilse, program director of surgery, endoscopy and central processing at RVHS.

Ilse was part of the team that came up with this idea. She said that it is very difficult to book surgeries manually.

5 factors in determining your surgery date:

  • Doctor’s availability
  • Operating room schedule
  • Patient availability
  • Other patients on the list
  • Rules already implemented by the government.

Source: Renate Ilse, RVHS program director of surgery, endoscopy and central processing

Currently, surgeries are being booked through the doctor’s assistant. According to Ilse, there are many factors that need to be considered when booking a surgery. It is a difficult decision for secretaries to make and some were unintentionally booking lower-priority patients before higher-priority patients.

RVHS received a $10,000 grant from Cancer Care Ontario (CCO) to create the computer program that will prioritize the most urgent patient surgeries. The grant was awarded during the CCO’s annual Chief Information Officer Day on Feb.10.

Rick Skinner, vice president and chief information officer at CCO, said this program will help hospitals to use their surgical resources more efficiently.

“It’s using [available] technology and information to optimize our health-care system both from the perspective of the patient and the health-care system [itself]” Skinner said.

The program is not yet in place, but Ilse said that they are hoping to begin using it in six months. They will have to present their progress at next year’s Chief Information Officer Day.

“It would be the first hospital using this program. One of the unique things about Canada, particularly Ontario, is that all of our hospitals have the same problem. So we’ve already been told by Cancer Care Ontario and several other hospitals that if it works, they want it,” Ilse said.

Rouge Valley operates two community hospitals, the Rouge Valley Centenary in Scarborough and Rouge Valley Ajax and Pickering in Durham.