County partners with community hospitals to enhance local services and patient experience

Cobourg, ON – November 4, 2021 –  Northumberland County will support strong, sustainable local health care services for residents through a direct municipal investment in community hospitals. County Council today voted in favour of investing $1.25 million over five years through the Northumberland Hills Hospital (NHH) and Campbellford Memorial Hospital (CMH) Foundations, for the purchase of essential capital equipment.

“While the provincial government provides funding for hospital operations and infrastructure, Council recognizes that contributions from the community are vital to enhance hospital services and procure the capital equipment necessary for essential care,” states Warden Bob Crate. “The investment announced today will support continued local access to important testing and treatment and improved coordination of care for Northumberland residents. County Council is pleased to partner with Northumberland hospitals to help ensure robust local health care services that can accommodate the changing needs of our growing community.”

Based on a joint proposal from the two hospitals, 75 per cent of Northumberland County’s investment will be allocated to NHH and 25 per cent to CMH. Funds will initially be directed toward the implementation of the Epic clinical information system at both hospitals before transitioning, in the later years of the agreement, to contributions towards the purchase of equipment such as an MRI machine and a CT scanner at NHH, and a colonoscope and a portable ultrasound at CMH.

Investment in the local roll-out of the Epic system will support broad application of technology to substantially improve the delivery of health care services. Epic is one of the world’s largest electronic health records software companies, and their system has been adopted by hundreds of leading hospitals in North America and Europe. As regional implementation rolls out, this system will enable seamless access to health information across seven hospital organizations representing 14 hospitals, changing the delivery of care.

Once implemented, each of the 1.5 million people in the central east region who receive hospital care will have a single, unified personal health record across the partner hospitals. This will substantially improve the patient experience by supporting patients throughout their transitions between hospital organizations and services, and support health professionals, patients and caregivers to make the best possible decisions about each individual’s treatment and care. Epic will go live for all seven partner organizations in December 2021.

“Implementation of the Epic system represents a unique opportunity for municipal-hospital partnership to drive the digital evolution of local health care services to improve patient experience,” states Warden Crate. “This system will ensure Northumberland residents obtaining care through local hospitals – and through partner hospitals throughout the central east region – have the information and access necessary to be empowered partners in their own care. This aligns with the County’s Digital Strategy and is exactly the kind of transformative work Council is seeking to support with this investment, generating lasting change for improved delivery of local health care services.”

“We appreciate the commitment made by County Council,” shares Rhonda Cunningham, Executive Director of Northumberland Hills Hospital Foundation. “We understand this decision to support capital funding was a significant one given the many requests and demands before Council, and we thank them for their willingness to join us in ensuring local healthcare is a priority. This is one step towards preparing for the significant needs facing NHH as Northumberland County continues to grow and age. As we look forward to the years ahead, we will need the support of our full community to ensure we continue to have access to modern, advanced, high-quality care close to home.”

“On behalf of the Campbellford Memorial Hospital (CMH) & Foundation I thank Northumberland County Council for partnering with their community hospitals,” says John Russell, Executive Director of the CMH Foundation. “The pandemic has highlighted the critical need to invest in our hospitals to ensure the best patient care experience possible. The incredible demand for health care continues to grow in our county. Our combined fundraising goal of $50 million for medical equipment and technology will be a monumental undertaking as we continue to work to ensure all residents have access to the high quality care they deserve.”