Time and distance are no longer barriers for medical specialists needing access to vital health records for patients in several Northern Ontario communities, including First Nations reserves along the James Bay coast.

The North Eastern Ontario Network (NEON) is expanding.

NEON is an electronic health records sharing system that is part of eHealth Ontario’s Connecting Northern and Eastern Ontario (cNEO) initiative.

Based at Health Sciences North /Horizon Sante-Nord (HSN) in Greater Sudbury, NEON has been expanded to include the Weeneebayko Area Health Authority (WAHA) serving hospitals along the James Bay coast, as well as the West Nipissing General Hospital in Sturgeon Falls, and the Hôpital de Mattawa Hospital. 

Doctors and clinicians in these communities will now be able to share with the North’s major referral hospitals electronic ehealth services such as HSN patient X-Rays and MRIs in “real time” at the push of a button, speeding the delivery of diagnoses and care. Sharing health records electronically also means less duplication of services such as diagnostic imaging and laboratory tests.

With this expansion, NEON now includes 22 health care partners across northeastern Ontario.

“More than ever, emerging technologies and networks like NEON are allowing patients to have access to the very best health care, regardless of where they live,” says Gaston Roy, Chief Information Officer for HSN and NEON. “By sharing patient information through NEON, hospitals in the northeast can ensure care is better coordinated and more effective.”

The latest expansion of NEON was made possible by $4 million in funding from eHealth Ontario as part of the cNEO systems integration, one of three regional hubs connecting hospitals and health service providers across Ontario allowing them to share electronic health records.

“eHealth Ontario is proud to be a partner with NEON and Health Sciences North in expanding health care services to remote, rural, and underserviced regions of the province, particularly in the James Bay region,” said Alice Keung, Chief Operating Officer for eHealth Ontario. 

“Bringing NEON to the Weeneebayko Area Health Authority (WAHA) is a major achievement for our organization, says Robert Adolph, WAHA’s Vice President of Corporate Services and Chief Financial Officer.  Special thanks goes to our Chief Information Officer, our WAHA project leads and the NEON project team in making this happen. WAHA now has an integrated hospital information system that is a major milestone for patients, physicians and staff.  This allows WAHA to have the real-time statistical data to better coordinate our programs and services within our communities and health stakeholders.”

“Our Senior Team believes joining NEON and integrating our IT infrastructure with Health Sciences North has been a great step forward for our institution and patients in our community and in our region, " says Amy Morrison, Vice President of Corporate Services and Chief Financial Officer at Hôpital de Mattawa Hospital. "It leads to more coordinated care and a reduction in lost time for our patients where health information can be shared between our hospital and our health care partners when needed. And it allows us access to specialized IT resources that would not have been otherwise feasible for a facility of our size and budget. "

"WNGH is very pleased to join NEON and bring forward a long awaited integrated IT system that will enhance patient care, improve access to care and remove duplication of costly diagnostic testing, “ adds Cynthia Desormiers , President and CEO of West Nipissing General Hospital. “Joining NEON has brought WNGH to the next level in IT."

For more information about NEON, visit www.neonetwork.ca

For more information about eHealth Ontario, visit www.ehealthontario.on.ca