Andrew Szendebaby boy

Message from the Founding CEO

Andrew Szende speaking Welcome to the eCHN website!

It is a deeply satisfying experience to build something completely new that makes a real difference in the lives of so many. People have been talking about the shining promise of electronic health records for a long time. We at eCHN have managed to go beyond talk. We've taken that brilliant idea and turned it into a fully functional present-day reality.

The electronic Child Health Network is Canada's very first province-wide integrated electronic health record. Through its secure Portal, the network has been supplying health care providers in Ontario with vital patient health data for 16 years. That means 16 years of more accurate, up-to-date patient information available to authorized health practitioners, wherever and whenever needed. It means 16 years of a coordinated system that reduces travel times, wait times and the need for duplicate testing. Most importantly, it means 16 years of improving the quality of health care for the children of Ontario.

Let's be clear about what makes eCHN so distinctive and effective. In Ontario there are many information systems that capture medical information in digital form, such as the ones used in hospitals. However, the province has only one system that is able to integrate data from many different sources, systems, and locations into a single, consolidated medical WebChart. eCHN is the network of networks - the only system in Ontario that is integrating data from dozens of different electronic systems around the province and providing a single longitudinal record of a patient’s health care history.

This is an accomplishment which gives me great pride and pleasure. Rather than following a rigid master plan, we have reached this point by growing eCHN organically, in the way that its users - physicians, therapists, nurses - felt was most useful. That has meant, first, adding more hospitals because hospitals are where a lot of the information resides. We started out with just five hospital sites. Today, eCHN has expanded into every region of Ontario. eCHN's data repositories store the health records of more than 2.5 million children, with over 17.5 million encounters spanning 105 hospitals, including Tertiary Care Centres.

We have come so far – and it is the determination of the medical practitioners as well as the commitment and support of the government that has made eCHN the success it is. At present, the eCHN team continues with its project to expand the paediatric health record in Ontario, adding new data and new patients every day, as well as developing new services.

But there is so much more to come. Increasingly, it is becoming obvious that eCHN is the model for how to build a much larger network of electronic health records for the entire population of the province. Before long it should be possible for every woman, man and child in Ontario to have a complete electronic chart, containing their medical history from the moment of birth through to death. I look forward very much to this day because I think it will mean that more people are living longer, healthier, happier lives. I and all my colleagues at eCHN are proud to be at the leading edge of Ontario’s health care transformation.

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