Here to help VCH Coastal! Providence Health staff at a CST mock clinical cutover.

Pay it forward, pay it back

Providence Health Care nurses and other staff answered VCH Coastal’s call for help by participating in mock exercises essential to preparing for CST go-live.

They crossed over the water to the North Shore last week for two nights to join a small but mighty group of nurses and pharmacists to take part in mock transfers of patient records from old technology and paper to the new electronic health records system – an exercise referred to as a mock clinical cutover.

Providence Health and VCH staff at the CST mock clinical cutover.

Many of the nurses had little or no familiarity with the Cerner system, others had moved into management roles years ago and a few hadn’t worked a night shift since the ‘90s, but none of this stopped them. Fearless, they went through a quick training session and jumped right in. Al Hunt and Ribeka Kim served as “cutover captains” for 4 East, while Karen Martinez took command of 6 West, Ivana Culina lead the MIU team and Chantel Yates boldly championed the ED team.

They bonded over pizza dinners before starting their work at 7:30 pm to reconcile orders, review templates and go through medication verification processes. They finished at 6 am in the morning with a debrief to capture lessons learned.

“Training and participation are really important,” said Chris Talusan, the Clinical Informatics Team Lead who has been managing the mock clinical cutovers. “If you don’t understand the flow of the migration and you don’t know the system, it will be difficult.”

The mock clinical cutover is critical to helping teams discover what will be involved in the process, how long it could take and how many people may need to be involved. The invaluable data and information gathered from the mock clinical cutovers will not only inform the  strategies for Lions Gate and Squamish General Hospitals but can also be leveraged for future go-lives.

But most of all, the cutover was another “pay it forward and pay it back” opportunity. Providence nurses and staff were given the chance to help a fellow VCH colleagues and get a sneak peek at a new system that will be coming to their sites soon and, in return, LGH and SGH staff will be there to support them when their sites go live with CST.

“It was an excellent exercise,” said Rob Balen, Director, Lower Mainland Pharmacy Services. “It’s amazing how much faster people get as they practice.”

Cutovers involve:

  • Chart cleanup: Clinicians move orders to templates that mirror content in the new system to allow for more accurate conversion
  • Sign-off: Providers (physicians) validate that the template information is accurate
  • Chart conversion: Clinicians and pharmacy staff manually enter identified, medically pertinent and required information into the new system
  • Schedule conversion: Entry of forward-looking appointment schedules, typically ambulatory
  • Verification: Providers, clinicians and pharmacy staff ensure that information in Cerner is correct and valid

Additional mock clinical cutovers were planned for the end of March. The actual clinical cutovers will take place just before the April 28 go-live.