Benefits being realized across the country as a result of investments in
TORONTO, Feb. 3 /CNW/ - As a result of investments made by Canada Health
Infoway (Infoway) and its jurisdictional partners, Infoway President and CEO, Richard Alvarez reports today that the core elements
of an electronic health records (EHR) are now in place for nearly half
of the Canadian population (49.3%).
"We set an ambitious goal of making the core systems of an electronic
health record available to authorized care providers for 50 percent of
Canadians by the end of 2010. We've come very close to achieving this
important milestone and estimate we'll cross this threshold in
mid-2011," said Alvarez. "As a result of these efforts, systems are now
in place that are delivering value to patients and clinicians from
coast to coast to coast."
Funded by the Government of Canada, Infoway works with the country's ten provinces and three territories to
implement secure EHR systems, enabling best practices and successful
projects in one region to be shared or replicated in other regions.
Investments that Infoway and its provincial and territorial partners have made in information
and communications technologies such as client and provider registries,
drug information systems, lab information systems and diagnostic
imaging systems are already paying significant dividends in a number of
"Already we're seeing improvements in the quality of health care,
reductions in wait times, avoided errors, better management of chronic
diseases, and enhanced access in remote and rural communities," says
Alvarez. "Patients and health care providers alike believe that
knowing is better than not knowing when it comes to health care."
Examples of such benefits include:
Alberta's Netcare was launched in 2006 and is now a leading example of
an EHR deployment, both domestically and internationally. Through
Netcare, over 30,000 authorized users in the province have access to
information that they need to deliver better health care, including lab
results, medication profiles, diagnostic imaging reports, hospital
transcribed and ECG reports and immunizations.
Dr. Robert Hauptman of the Saulbus Family Medical Clinic in St. Albert,
Alberta points to the availability of lab test results as an example of
how Netcare has improved patient care. "By being able to see the
results of lab tests or imaging, there is no duplication of tests
requested. Furthermore, if you have the best information possible, you
can make the best diagnostic and therapeutic decisions," says Dr.
Hauptman. "In the past, you might order more tests which were
unnecessary and caused the patient to wait two or three weeks for the
results, when those tests might already have been done. It's important
to stress that having records online allows us to provide better
Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN)
OTN is a one of the largest telehealth networks in the world, using live
two-way videoconferencing and associated diagnostic equipment to bring
medical expertise to some of the province's most hard-to-reach,
underserved northern communities. More than 3,000 health care
professionals in more than 1,000 sites across Ontario are proving that
distance doesn't matter when it comes to delivering quality care. OTN
is expected to deliver more than 100,000 patient visits in 2011.
"Telehomecare is very powerful technology in terms of improving patient
outcomes and reducing health care costs, because it empowers patients
to manage their own illnesses," says Dr. Ed Brown, CEO, Ontario
Telemedicine Network. "We improve care — and patients are making fewer
trips to the emergency department and being admitted to hospital less
often. When you improve patient outcomes, improve satisfaction with the
health care system and reduce system costs, that's very powerful
Drug Information Systems
In 2010, an independent study on drug information systems showed that
they are already generating $436 million worth of annual benefits due
to the increased productivity of prescribers and pharmacists, improved
patient compliance with medications, and gains inpatient safety.
Further benefits are expected as adoption of these systems spreads,
experience is gained in their use, and e-prescribing becomes more
"Pharmacists are seeing technology and their drug therapy expertise
working in concert to transform the delivery of patient care," said
Ruth Ackerman, President of the Canadian Pharmacists Association. "By
providing health care professionals with the information they need to
support their clinical decisions, Drug Information Systems are
improving medication safety and effectiveness."
A 2009 study on the benefits of the investments in diagnostic imaging
identified potential cost savings and efficiencies of almost $1 billion
a year. This estimate reflects improved productivity of radiologists
and radiology technologists, a significant reduction in the number of
patient transfers and duplicate tests, as well as the elimination of
film and costly film storage requirements. For example, the evaluation
report noted that system innovations could improve the efficiency of
clinical decision making of referring physicians by 50-60 minutes,
creating $160-190 million of pan-Canadian annual value.
Dr. Derek Younge, an orthopaedic surgeon working in Yellowknife, is a
proponent of the DI/PACS system in his jurisdiction. "It's a big
advancement. We can see an image as soon as it is taken and consult
directly with the health centre where the patient has been taken. We
can manipulate the scan in ways we couldn't do with a traditional
X-ray. We can give an opinion even before an official radiology report
About Canada Health Infoway
Canada Health Infoway is an independent, not-for-profit organization
funded by the federal government. Infoway jointly invests with every province and territory to accelerate the
development and adoption of electronic health record projects in
Canada. Fully respecting patient confidentiality, these secure systems
will provide clinicians and patients with the information they need to
better support safe care decisions and manage their own health.
Accessing this vital information quickly will help foster a more modern
and sustainable health care system for all Canadians.
For more information about Canada's efforts to implement information and
communications technologies in health care, please visit www.knowingisbetter.ca. To see how EHR initiatives are improving health care delivery for
Canadians from coast to coast to coast, visit https://www.infoway-inforoute.ca/lang-en/about-ehr/ehr-success-stories.
SOURCE Canada Health Infoway
For further information:
Director, Media Relations
Canada Health Infoway
Tel.: (416) 595-3424