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Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) has started using Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) technology to receive instant lab results.

The technology is integrated with HHS’ hospital information system Epic to help doctors get patients’ lab results instantly from the Ontario Laboratories Information System (OLIS) data base.

A central electronic storage site, OLIS gives access to lab test orders and results to authorised healthcare providers across the province.

HHS claims to be the first hospital system in the province to receive OLIS lab results using the latest technology.

HHS chief information officer and health information and technology services vice-president Michelle Leafloor said, “With Epic, came the ability to access OLIS lab results instantly using FHIR technology.

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“When an HHS patient has their blood work done anywhere in the province, results are stored in OLIS and available to HHS physicians through FHIR.”

The HHS introduced the Epic system recently to replace electronic and paper systems. This fully digital hospital information system cuts the number of hours that hospital staff and physicians spend on collecting information.

The new system has enabled the hospital staff to access patients’ medical information in one secure place.

Before the introduction of Epic system, lab results used to be faxed from a hometown lab to a family doctor and to the HHS doctor. This resulted sometimes in misplaced paperwork.

HHS Health Information Technology Services senior consultant Mark Berry said, “Tracking down these lab results could really be time consuming before Epic.”

Though the HHS doctors had the option of examining lab results through OLIS prior to Epic, the process was a time-consuming one without FHIR.

“Accessing lab results using FHIR is definitely going to mean much faster access to lab results, and therefore better patient care,” added Berry.