It was December 2016 when the Cornwall Community Hospital
(CCH) went live with the Cerner Millennium® electronic health record
(EHR), allowing CCH to become an innovative leader in healthcare delivery in
The move to Cerner Millennium came shortly after a
major redevelopment project that saw two Cornwall-area hospitals consolidate on
one site to become CCH in 2014. A new, modern and state-of-the-art facility
would house 160 beds, employ more than 1,200 staff and 180 physicians, and
provide a full range of acute inpatient, outpatient and community services to
over approximately 100,000 people throughout the region.
However, this also called for a renewed look at the
hospital’s digital health systems to complement the new facility, consolidate
its teams, and better meet the needs of the community as well as its growing
workforce and services.
“It could be said that Cerner Millennium brought
CCH into the next millennium from where we were before, in terms of widespread
digital integration and consolidation of our teams, and strengthened and
streamlined operations,” explains Mohammed Shaheen, Chief Information and
Operating Officer at CCH.
“Nurses, respiratory therapists, physiotherapists and others
are all working together on this unified platform; it’s truly been an
electronic collaboration centre that pulls our teams together. Arguably, the
integration of Cerner Millennium is as much a game changer for our
hospital, our patients and our community as the capital redevelopment project
One of the most basic improvements introduced through Cerner
Millennium included the ability for physicians to digitally access patient
charts from anywhere in the hospital. Compared to five years ago, caregivers
are seeing 30% more patients and outpatient visits have nearly doubled.
“Everything from problem lists, medications, allergies and
previous hospital visits can be pulled up in an instant using a wireless
workstation, which is extremely helpful in emergency situations. Transferring
care to other providers is also safer with better and more complete information
and hand-offs,” says Dr. Lorne Scharf, Emergency Physician at CCH.
Cerner Millennium has proven extremely adaptable for
CCH. Over the past five years, the hospital has leveraged its capabilities and
spent a considerable amount of time fine-tuning workflows and developing custom
solutions for various departments and clinics to meet their specific needs.
Fine-tuning workflows has given time back to patient care. CCH is a leader in
physician workflow times compared to other Cerner clients in Canada.
For instance, CCH provides sophisticated clinical decision
support and patient safety checks directly to its healthcare workers through
Recently, CCH integrated the booking software used at
surgeon’s offices with its Cerner EHR to provide surgeons with the ability to
electronically schedule surgeries and procedures with CCH. This eliminates
manual entry by clerical staff and also helps to better manage surgical waiting
lists. First Case On-Time Starts have improved by over 15% since 2018 with over
82% of surgeries starting on time.
CCH has also put more patients at the centre of their care
teams thanks to Cerner Millennium. For example, patients are provided with
their very own Cerner-generated discharge summaries, and CCH has introduced new
digital engagement tools that integrate within the Cerner Millennium EHR,
including the MyChart Patient Portal and SeamlessMD for digital pre- and
CCH is the first hospital in Canada to integrate SeamlessMD
with its Cerner EHR using SMART on FHIR technology, the latest EHR
interoperability framework available from Cerner. With SMART on FHIR, the doors
have been blown wide open for more third-party digital tools designed for
patients and caregivers, such as SeamlessMD, to be added to the hospital’s
Cerner Millennium also played a critical role in the
hospital’s COVID-19 preparedness. When the pandemic began in the spring of
2020, CCH was better positioned to respond and build capacity thanks to the
Cerner EHR, and the hospital quickly opened a community COVID-19 testing centre
and vaccination clinic, with appointments being made directly in the Cerner
The improvements brought forth at CCH thanks to the Cerner
EHR have not only been noticed by patients, but also by peers. In 2019, CCH was
designated with Exemplary Standing from Accreditation Canada, the highest
designation attainable awarded to a Canadian hospital that attains the highest
level of performance. A number of workflows that were evaluated by Accreditation
Canada relied on Cerner.
After five years of using the Cerner Millennium EHR, “It’s
hard to imagine ever having worked without it,” claims Dr. Scharf. “Cerner
Millennium facilitates safe, effective workflows for our staff to carry
out on a daily basis.” CCH is ranked #1 across Canada-based Cerner clients in
authoring electronic notes in the EHR and is also a leader in computerized
physician order entry (CPOE). Since implementation, clinical decision support
has doubled in volume, allowing the EHR to fuel caregivers to make the right
decision at the right time resulting in the best outcomes for the patient.
As CCH looks to the future, there are even more
opportunities for innovation, mobile solutions, and integration with the
community using Cerner.
However, according to Mohammed, one of the great incidental
benefits of embarking on its implementation is that it created an atmosphere of
teamwork, inclusivity and a common purpose – which he says is equally as
“Throughout the integration process, and over the past five
years, new relationships have been forged between teams and will continue to
flourish for many years to come. Ultimately, these new partnerships and
improvements have led to a better workplace and better patient outcomes.”
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Patient and Family Advisory Committee
Cornwall Community Hospital is located on the traditional lands of the Akwesasne Mohawks and their ancestors. We are forever grateful to those who had been on these lands before us and through their stewardship and connection to the land, have made it what it is now. Read our full Land Acknowledgement here.
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