Media Release – Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Media Release – Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Beginning October 29, hospitals in North Bay, Sault Ste. Marie and West Parry Sound will have access to a common shared health information system. Known collectively as the ONE Initiative – one system for the northeast and one chart for each patient on the system – the regional partnership uses a common version of the Expanse system, created by US-based firm MEDITECH.

Physicians and departmental teams from the North Bay Regional Health Centre (NBRHC), Sault Area Hospital (SAH) and West Parry Sound Health Centre (WPSHC) have been working together for two years to plan, build and provide training to implement a common system that will improve the way patients receive care.

For the first few weeks, while staff at the hospital become accustomed to the new system, it is anticipated that some processes may take longer than normal. “To minimize potential delays, the hospital is adding extra staff in certain areas,” explains Dr. Garniss, Chief Medical Information Officer and Medical Director Emergency Department Sault Area Hospital. “However, patients can be assured that they will continue to receive the best care possible during this transition to the new system.”

Tips for patients wanting to minimize non-urgent visits to the hospital during this time include checking prescriptions and making sure renewals are done through your primary care provider or pharmacy; and familiarizing yourself with the options available for non-urgent care, like Telehealth Ontario or walk-in clinics. “As always, in the case of an emergency, please do not hesitate and go straight to the Emergency Department,” Garniss says.

“Our partnership puts patients first. The shared system improves patient safety and provides a better care experience for patients,” says Elizabeth Ferguson, Vice President Clinical Operations, Chief Nursing Executive, and Executive Sponsor of the ONE Initiative for Sault Area Hospital. “Clinicians also benefit through a more efficient workflow, real-time notifications, and complete and timely access to a patient’s story between the three hospitals.”

“This advanced system provides physicians with the information they need to make important patient care decisions faster,” says Ferguson. “It contains built-in regional best practice content and clinical support tools that improve patient safety and transitions of care.”

Over 60% of acute care hospitals in Ontario use MEDITECH systems. The first partner to go live was WPSHC, on October 1. Presently each of the partner hospitals use different health information systems that are a mix of paper and older digital systems.


The North Bay Regional Health Centre (NBRHC) is a unique health care organization that provides acute care for North Bay and area, is the district referral centre for the Region and is the specialized mental health provider for Northeastern Ontario.

Sault Area Hospital (SAH) serves a catchment population of approximately 115,000 SAH, provides primary, secondary and select tertiary services to residents in Sault Ste. Marie and the District of Algoma. In addition to providing core services in Emergency and Critical Care, Medicine, Surgery, Obstetrics, Maternity and Pediatrics, Mental Health and Addictions, Complex Continuing Care, and Rehabilitation, SAH is also home to the Algoma Regional Renal Program and the Algoma District Cancer Program including radiation therapy services. SAH is extremely proud of our entire team of over 1,700 dedicated staff, 365 physicians and 535 volunteers.

West Parry Sound Health Centre (WPSHC) is a highly integrated organization that includes: co-location with Lakeland Long Term Care, a 110-resident home; six primary care Rural Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinics; management of the District of Parry Sound land ambulance and Ambulance Communication Service; and a full range of in- and out-patient programs associated with a 70-bed acute care hospital. WPSHC serves Ontario’s most popular recreational area with an approximate year-round population of 25,000, reaching toward 100,000 during the summer peak.

The ONE Initiative
The ONE Initiative is transforming patient care in northeastern Ontario. The vision of the ONE Initiative is the delivery of patient and family-centred care through ONE electronic health information system across the region. The transition to a single health information system benefits everyone who gives, receives or supports the delivery of care in ONE Initiative hospitals. Starting in October, three hospitals will be sharing the system: North Bay Regional Health Centre (NBRHC), West Parry Sound Health Centre (WPSHC) and the Sault Area Hospital (SAH). The patient record that resides in this system will be available to all health providers at the three hospitals involved in the individual’s care. The health information system being implemented is MEDITECH Expanse.

One EHR. No limits. For over 35 years, clinicians, hospitals, and health authorities from the remote, bayside city of Iqaluit to the bustling streets of Toronto have relied on MEDITECH to connect to the information they need to deliver quality care. That’s why we are the market share leader throughout Canada, with 47 percent of hospitals across the country. We invite you to see healthcare through a whole new lens with Expanse, the premier EHR for the digital healthcare paradigm. Visit, our Newsroom and Blog, and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to start your journey today.

For media inquiries, contact:
Brandy Sharp Young
Manager – Communications & Volunteer Resources – Sault Area Hospital
Telephone: (705) 759-3721

Christina Marshall
ONE Initiative Project Management Office Communications

Liz Carroll