It’s an exciting time to get sick in Brampton. With the opening of the highly hyped Brampton Civic Hospital, Canada’s first “superhospital,” people living in the Peel Region can go through dialysis, give birth, and get a biopsy (though hopefully not all at once) with greater ease and comfort than before.
What makes this place so special? According to Gillian Williams McClean, the Director of Communications and Marketing, this is the most technologically integrated hospital in Canada. It has some nifty Star Trek gadgetry make the entire hospital from the ER to the cafeteria almost paperless. For example, the nurses communicate via PDA, so they can add to a patient’s history or share info with another doctor or pharmacist, and be called to a patient’s room from anywhere in the hospital. And the BCH has a “robot” dispensary. This machine can store and measure doses of medication, which cuts down on human error. In addition, people who have regular appointments will be able to swipe their OHIP card in an ATM-like machine, making check-ins that much faster.
Well that’s the theory, anyway. The hospital has been experiencing what Williams McClean calls “growing pains.” Wait times in the ER are an average of four hours, although Williams McClean is quick to point out that patients in critical condition are seen right away. She says that the long waits are due to 23% more sick people than expected, which is inevitable given that a huge, state-of-the-art facility is replacing a small, inadequate one. She also claims these wait times are normal for any hospital this size (probably true, and a whole other post). “The hospital professionals are adjusting to the new technology. Already, the average wait time is decreasing.” Another wrinkle involves the coding buttons. Most health professional call in codes by routing them through a central switchboard. So the new system, where everyone has a coding button that can be hung around your neck like an ID badge helps save time. But people were accidentally setting them off whenever they bumped into a desk. It seems a bit Keystone Kops for a major hospital, but Williams McClean says people have nothing to worry about. “The number of false alarms is steadily decreasing.” Security has also been revolutionized. Patients get wristbands preventing them from going into certain areas of the hospital, so no missing babies, and no kids wandering into the mental health area. Stephen Reingold, an oncologist at the BCH said, “I’ve been there one week and it gets better every day. As a physician, I love going to work.”
Photo courtesy of the William Osler Health Centre.