Better, safer services for mental health clients in Sunrise

Team Photo (2)

Mental health clients in Sunrise Health Region are getting better care, thanks to recent improvements in how their health information is collected during their initial visit.

A team of front-line staff and client representatives has developed a new electronic intake form that has drastically cut the time from when information is collected to when it’s accessible to care providers.

With the old, paper-based intake process, it could take six days or more from the time new clients were screened to when their health information was available to clinicians. That delay posed a risk to patient safety and made it tough for providers to make informed care decisions – for example, if a client came to Emergency before his or her information was available.

Now this critical intelligence is available in just two hours and 20 minutes. If a client presents unexpectedly after their initial intake, care staff can provide optimal care because they have up-to-date, secure and accurate information at their fingertips.

The new intake form and supporting processes were developed in Sunrise as part of a recent Rapid Process Improvement Workshop (RPIW).

“The benefits of this RPIW, as a patient, may not be directly perceptible – but they are significant,” said client representative Andrew Piasta. “By changing the flow of my information from paper or other hard-copy medium to a digital one (it) has the benefit of making my file immediately accessible not only to the clinicians involved in my case on the unit but also to clinicians working in the field, home care, Emergency Department, and even my general practitioner. This new way integrates the use of portable electronic devices, which allow Mental Health workers to securely import patient information outside their office. It also requires less time and effort from the clinician.”

“Information made accessible, in an expedited manner and offered to all who require it benefits me by allowing them to better embrace my needs and expedite my treatment in a safer and more effective way.”
(Andrew Piasta, client representative)

Now that the electronic intake form is in use, Crisis Assessment Team members have more time for direct client care. This time saving has increased the number of clients the crisis assessment team members can see each day from seven to 12 clients. Clinician Christine Gullacher emphasizes that “by increasing our use of technology to process screening, we’ve reduced the time required to complete the screening. We can now process more screenings and clients do not wait so long for their service.”


Top Row: Kristin Keller, Christine Gullacher, Sharon Stanicki, Jackie Murphy-Park, Carla Flogan

Bottom Row: Britton Houdek, Dr. Phillip Fourie, Lisa Alspach, Laurie-Ann Bjornerud, Andy Piasta (Client representative)

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