Canada's First ePrescribing Program Launches in Ontario



    eHealth Ontario project lays the foundation for a province-wide program

    TORONTO, May 12 /CNW/ -

    NEWS

    eHealth Ontario has launched Canada's first ePrescribing Program.
    ePrescribing is the process of generating, authorizing and transmitting
prescriptions from doctors and other prescribers to pharmacists and other
dispensers. It eliminates hand-written prescriptions by physicians and
facilitates the electronic delivery of prescriptions to pharmacies.
    Two sites have been selected for the ePrescribing Demonstration Project:
The Group Health Centre in Sault Ste. Marie and Georgian Bay Family Health
Team in Collingwood.
    Through the two sites, eHealth Ontario will examine workflow, change
management requirements, regulation guidelines and the impact on physicians,
nurse practitioners, pharmacists and patients. The project will help inform
future implementation of a province-wide ePrescribing system.
    This new tool is a key component of eHealth Ontario's Medication
Management strategy and is expected to dramatically improve patient safety and
quality of care by reducing prescription errors.

    QUOTES

    "ePrescribing is an integral part of our eHealth Strategy, which is all
about providing 21st century health care to Ontario patients. Lessons learned
from this program will be used to inform the implementation and adoption
strategies for a provide-wide ePrescribing solution."
    - David Caplan, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

    "Every year, an estimated 400,000 Ontarians suffer a preventable reaction
to medication. Four thousand will die as a result. We expect the ePrescribing
Demonstration Program will reduce the chance of errors and adverse drug
reactions ensuring better care for patients requiring prescriptions."
    - Sarah Kramer, President and CEO, eHealth Ontario


    
    QUICK FACTS

    -   The ePrescribing Demonstration Project began in Sault Ste. Marie and
        Collingwood in April 2009. The project is expected to be completed in
        June 2009.
    -   Physicians and other prescribers in each site will work directly with
        patients interested in participating, to explain how the new process
        will impact them.
    -   The College of Nurses of Ontario, College of Physicians and Surgeons
        of Ontario and the Ontario College of Pharmacists have issued a joint
        letter of support for the project.
    

    LEARN MORE

    Find out more about Ontario's ehealth strategy
(http://www.ehealthontario.on.ca)

    Link to the JOINT LETTER FROM the associations listed in quick facts.


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    ePrescribing Demonstration Project

    ePrescribing - the process of electronically generating, authorizing
(signing) and transmitting prescriptions from doctors and other prescribers to
pharmacists and other dispensers - is recognized as an important tool for
improved patient safety and quality of care. Electronic prescribing has the
potential to reduce the chance of errors ensuring better care for patients
requiring prescriptions.
    It is estimated that every year, almost 400,000 Ontarians suffer a
preventable reaction to medication. Four thousand of them will die as a
result. ePrescribing will eliminate hand-written paper prescriptions and will
facilitate the electronic delivery of prescriptions to pharmacies.
    ePrescribing is an integral part of eHealth Ontario's Medication
Management strategy. It supports safety and quality objectives through the
elimination of paper prescriptions and improved access to prescription and
dispensing information. ePrescribing will also support reductions in adverse
drug events and unnecessary hospitalization.
    To better understand the impact of electronic prescribing on physicians,
pharmacists and patients an ePrescribing Demonstration Project has been
launched.

    
    The ePrescribing Demonstration Project will:

    -   Provide pharmacists with access to Electronic Medical Records (EMRs)
        to view pending prescriptions and a subset of clinically-relevant
        information; and,
    -   Validate key electronic prescribing outcomes in two local settings to
        develop tools and templates that will be used to inform the roll out
        of provincial ePrescribing, including workflow, change management
        requirements and regulatory considerations.
    

    Two family physician practices that are advanced in the use of the
electronic medical record (EMR) were selected (through a proposal review
process) for the ePrescribing Demonstration Project. The locations are: Group
Health Centre in Sault Ste. Marie and Georgian Bay Family Health Team in
Collingwood. Each site will use a solution that is unique to their respective
practices and geographic areas. The two project sites will study the outcomes
of each solution that will provide valuable lessons for the adoption of the
provincial ePrescribing solution.

    Participants

    16 general practitioners, 5 specialists and 7 nurse practitioners from
Group Health Centre are participating. 24 general practitioners and 4 nurse
practitioners from Georgian Bay Family Health Team are participating.
    22 pharmacies in Sault Ste. Marie and 17 pharmacies in the area of
Collingwood, Wasaga Beach, The Blue Mountains, and Clearview (including
Stayner, Nottawa, Duntroon and Creemore) are participating.
    Physicians and other prescribers in each site will work directly with
patients interested in participating, to explain how the new process will
impact them. Patient agreement to participate will be handled as part of the
normal agreement process that will be defined by each site.

    Regulatory Colleges

    The College of Nurses of Ontario, College of Physicians and Surgeons of
Ontario and the Ontario College of Pharmacists have been consulted regarding
regulatory issues, such as secure prescription authentication and patient
choice. The Colleges have issued a joint letter of support for the project and
will be kept informed about the outcomes.

    eHealth Ontario

    Working in partnership with the government of Ontario, eHealth Ontario
published the first eHealth Strategy for Ontario in March 2009. The strategy
is focused on providing a comprehensive, patient-focused, secure, and private
electronic system that will change the way Ontarians receive care in the
province. eHealth will bring about innovation and drive the transformation of
Ontario's health care system, building toward an electronic health record for
all Ontarians by 2015.

    eHealth Ontario is a new organization that plays the leading role in
harnessing technology and innovation to improve patient care, safety, and
access in support of the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care's
health strategy. eHealth Ontario will provide a single, harmonized, coherent
province-wide eHealth Strategy and align it through a single point of
accountability. Its work will enable and fulfill the government's strategic
healthcare priorities.

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    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at http://photos.newswire.ca.
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
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For further information:

For further information: Donna Kline, eHealth Ontario, (416) 617-9368
(cell), donna.kline@ehealthontario.on.ca; Steve Erwin, Minister's Office,
(416) 326-3986, steven.erwin@ontario.ca

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eHealth Ontario

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