Staff at Lions Gate Hospital show their level of readiness at a staff forum held earlier this week.

Lions Gate Hospital and Squamish General Hospital are ready to “GO LIVE”

This Saturday (April 28, 2018) at about 6 a.m., Lions Gate Hospital and Squamish General Hospital will be taking a giant step forward in patient care. They will be the first of the roughly 40 sites across VCH, PHSA and PHC to “go live” with the new Cerner clinical information system.

At its most basic, they are shifting from paper-based charts to electronic patient records. Sounds so simple, right?

But you know the saying? Nothing that is worthwhile is ever easy and that certainly applies to the Clinical & Systems Transformation (CST) project. Getting to this point has taken a colossal amount of work and energy, not to mention buy-in from staff, providers and physicians. There’s no denying it. It’s been a Herculean task, but with two days to go before we “flip the switch,” the feeling among many staff is “Let’s just do it.”

Months of training – from e-modules to classroom time and skills sharpener sessions – and the army of support (about 400 extra people) that will be on site 24/7 when we go live with the Cerner system will ensure our success.

As crucial as all that support will be on go-live day and the weeks following, we’ve reached this point thanks to the tireless efforts of all our staff and physicians as well as the hardworking CST team.

“We are going to be successful because of all of you,” said Karin Olson, Chief Operating Officer, at a staff forum earlier this week. “There will be some hiccups and bumps in the road, but together we will get through it. Everybody should take pride in the work they’ve done to get us here and recognize that this sense of accomplishment is because we all want to provide the best care for our patients.”

In fact, we’ve already had some CST “firsts”:

  • In March, Cerner conducted a readiness assessment that gave all applications in the new system a green light.
  • On April 4, the Vancouver Pharmacy Production Centre successfully went live with the Supply Chain module of the new Cerner clinical information system.
  • Over 740,000 patient records have been successfully loaded into the new system.
  • More than 2,400 staff and 400 providers have been trained and provisioned for go-live
  • More than 70 nurses have been seconded or recruited from other VCH Communities of Care and local health organizations like Providence Health Care and trained to work at LGH and SGH before and after the system is activated to increase overall capacity to provide quality care.
  • Appointments are now being scheduled for Medical Imaging, Surgery and Ambulatory as part of the cutover process.
  • We’ve conducted final reviews of our downtime strategy, with Code Grey boxes on all the units.
  • Four mock cutover exercises were held at LGH and SGH

It’s been exciting to see these final pieces come together, and no doubt there will be stories to tell about some of the heroics that have occurred behind the scenes. We’ll share some of them later (like the nailbiting adventure of a trio of health care heroes involving a flight, a late-night ferry and some very important drawers).

Stay tuned for more updates as we share our CST experience with all of our VCH family.

If you want to find out more about CST, visit

You can also read “The moment is here and we are ready” written by VCH President and CEO Mary Ackenhusen.