eHealth contract to support patient care



    VICTORIA, April 17 /CNW Telbec/ - The Province and Sun Microsystems
(B.C.) Inc. have signed a contract to advance patient care by building the
infrastructure needed for electronic health records and improving access to
laboratory test results, Health Minister George Abbott announced today.
    "The Province's eHealth strategy is leveraging technology to improve
health care," said Abbott. "Today's agreement provides the foundation for
electronic health records, enhances access to test results and will bring
better, faster, safer health care to British Columbians, while protecting
privacy."
    The agreement with Sun Microsystems (B.C.) Inc., a subsidiary of Sun
Microsystems of Canada Inc., will produce:

    
        - An infrastructure to enable access to a secure interoperable
          Electronic Health Record (iEHR) for physicians and other caregivers
          anywhere in B.C., while protecting patient privacy;
        - The program's first major clinical component, the Provincial
          Laboratory Information Solution (PLIS), which will consolidate lab
          test results in one repository; and
        - Operations and support services for iEHR/PLIS for 10 years.

    The $148-million agreement also supports the Province's throne speech
commitment to create a new electronic medical records system to give
physicians better access to patient records and improve service to patients.
    PLIS will enable physicians, nurses and other authorized caregivers
involved in clinical practice to receive lab test results online. iEHR will
provide the technology infrastructure that will allow laboratory, pharmacy,
and diagnostic imaging information to flow securely between authorized
health-care providers and source systems across all of B.C.
    "Congratulations to B.C. on this major step towards making electronic
health records a reality in the province," said Infoway's president and CEO
Richard Alvarez. "We're pleased to collaborate with the B.C. government as
they put in place solutions that will result in a safer, higher quality, more
efficient health-care system. Infoway plans to invest a total of over
$55 million in B.C.'s iEHR and lab information systems initiatives."
    iEHR/PLIS are two of the foundation projects of B.C.'s eHealth strategy to
put the right information in the right hands at the right time to support
personal health-care decision-making and health system sustainability.
    "Electronic health records are fundamental to modernizing the health-care
system and improving access and outcomes of Canadians," said Abbott.
"Technology has revolutionized the way people do business and communicate, and
the way public services, including health care, are delivered. B.C. is
starting to realize the full potential of this technology to give caregivers
better access to patient records and improve services to patients."
    All patient information will be protected by privacy measures that are
among the strongest in Canada. The personal health information in the
electronic health record will comply with the Province's Freedom of
Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the Personal Information Privacy
Act and clauses of the Canada Health Act that govern the use of information
for health-related purposes. In addition, access to patient information will
be restricted to only those having a legal right and clear need to access the
information or to access the systems where the information resides.
    Sun Microsystems (B.C.) Inc. and its principal development partners,
MedPlus and First Consulting Group, will design and build the PLIS and iEHR
solutions in accordance with Canada Health Infoway architecture and standards.
TELUS and CGI are responsible for managed operations services and application
management. The contract with Sun is an Alternative Service Delivery project
developed with the Ministry of Labour and Citizens' Services. The contract
concludes a Joint Solution Procurement process initiated in February 2006. Sun
was selected because of the strength of its overall solution presented to the
Province.

    About Canada Health Infoway (Infoway)

    Infoway is an independent not-for-profit organization that invests with
public sector partners across Canada to implement and reuse compatible health
information systems which support a safer, more efficient healthcare system.
Fully respecting patient confidentiality, these private and secure systems
provide healthcare professionals with rapid access to complete and accurate
patient information, enabling better decisions about diagnosis and treatment.
The result is a sustainable, healthcare system offering improved quality,
accessibility and productivity.

    1 backgrounder attached


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                                 BACKGROUNDER

    2007HEALTH0045-000451                                  Ministry of Health
    April 17, 2007


                        B.C. GETS ONLINE WITH EHEALTH

    eHealth is about technology improving health care. B.C. has seven eHealth
projects underway that will use modern telecommunications to make patient care
better, safer and faster by placing medical information in the right hands at
the right time. The seven projects are:

        - Provincial Laboratory Information Solution Project (PLIS) -
          consolidated lab results;
        - interoperable Electronic Health Record (iEHR) - infrastructure to
          enable secure and authorized access to heath records from anywhere
          in the province;
        - eDrug Project (eDrug) - enhancing PharmaNet;
        - Provincial Diagnostic Imaging Project (Connecting DI) - sharing
          patient diagnostic text reports and images;
        - Public Health Information Project (PHIP) - public health
          information management;
        - Electronic Medical Record (EMR) - to give physicians better access
          to patient records; and
        - Telehealth - services over distance, in rural and remote areas and
          for First Nations.

    Currently, patient information is stored as paper records or
electronically in isolated computers or a patchwork of local systems. eHealth
will make possible the secure and immediate transfer of patient information to
authorized caregivers anywhere in B.C.

    Benefits for Patients

        - Fewer delays in treatment and less duplicate testing.
        - Improved care with patient information available where health
          services are delivered.
        - Patient information will be protected and accessed only by those
          with a need to know.

    For Health Authorities

        - Reductions in laboratory operating costs estimated at $3 million to
          $6 million per year.
        - More efficient emergency room operation, because physicians can
          immediately access the patient's complete laboratory results from
          anywhere in the province.

    For Physicians

        - Easy access to complete laboratory information to inform diagnosis
          and treatment, regardless of who originally ordered the test or
          where the test was performed.
        - Reduction and elimination of duplicated calls to laboratories or
          other physicians.

    Privacy

        - Health-care providers will only be permitted to access patient
          information in order to provide health care.
        - All access to patient information will be electronically tracked
          and recorded, and records of access will be carefully monitored.
    




For further information:

For further information: Media contact: Marisa Adair, Communications
Director, British Columbia Ministry of Health, (250) 920-8500, (250) 952-1887
(media line); For more information on government services or to subscribe to
the Province's news feeds using RSS, visit the Province's website at
www.gov.bc.ca; Cindy Hoffman, Canada Health Infoway, (514) 397-7335,
1-866-868-0550, (514) 606-7335 (cellular), choffman@infoway-inforoute.ca


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