Nunavut patient records to be electronic by 2012



    IQALUIT, Sept. 10 /CNW/ - Supporting the standardization and
technological advancement of a Nunavut Electronic Health Record System,
Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health and Social Services and Richard Alvarez,
President and CEO, Canada Health Infoway (Infoway) today jointly announced a
$7.4 million investment by Infoway towards Phase 2 of the department's
E-health program. The investment is part of an overall $11.6 million
initiative to support Nunavut's E-Health vision and faster access to quality
care for the territory's residents.
    An electronic health record (EHR) is a secure and private lifetime record
of a patient's health and care history. Implementation and adoption of EHRs
for Nunavut's residents is a complex project that will be supported by
collaboration between the territory and Infoway. By 2012, Nunavut's health
care system will benefit from quick access to the comprehensive electronic
health records of their patients saving time, increasing efficiencies, and
increasing patient safety.
    "We constantly evaluate the changing environment of our health care
system, and with Canada Health Infoway's generous investment we are able to
move forward in implementing a patient file system that can be more easily
maintained and simpler to use," said Aglukkaq. "The electronic health record
system aims to use technology and the Internet to improve the way health care
is delivered by linking our health centres, hospital, and pharmacy to each
other and to our southern partners."
    Nunavut has been working in collaboration with Infoway since 2004.
Infoway is the federally-funded not-for-profit organization that is leading
the development and adoption of electronic health records across Canada.
    "Providing all Canadian residents with an electronic health record is a
tremendous accomplishment, particularly in remote areas like Nunavut," said
Alvarez. "Today's investment means that by 2012, health care providers will
have access to the vital health data of their patients at the click of a
button. Not only will it increase patient safety throughout Nunavut, it will
free up valuable clinical time, increasing access to patient care and saving
money."
    Every province and territory is currently working to develop, implement
and adopt electronic health records for faster transfer of patient
information, resulting in reduced wait times. The investment in Nunavut's
electronic record project will help the territory meet its wait time guarantee
for diagnostic imaging by reducing turnaround time to less than four days from
what used to be 18 days per patient.
    Nunavut's electronic health record project is a five-year initiative from
creation to implementation. It is operating within budget and supported
through existing funding envelopes. The total cost of the project is
$11.6 million. Four million dollars is designated through Health Canada Wait
Time Fund, and the remainder through Infoway's investment, which is 75 per
cent of the total project cost.
    "Electronic health records are a key building block in establishing a
health care system that provides improved access, quality and productivity,
throughout Nunavut and connects us to the rest of Canada," said Aglukkaq. "By
2012 the electronic health record system will be integrated and available in
all communities."

    About Canada Health Infoway

    Canada Health Infoway is an independent, not-for-profit organization
funded by the Federal government. Infoway jointly invests in projects with
every province and territory to accelerate the development and adoption of
electronic health record systems in Canada. Fully respecting patient
confidentiality, this network of systems will provide clinicians and patients
with a faster way to manage, access, share and safeguard patient health
information. Accessing this vital information quickly will foster a more
modern and sustainable health care system for all Canadians.





For further information:

For further information: Yasmina Pepa, A/Director of Communications,
Health and Social Services, Government of Nunavut, (867) 975-5714,
ypepa@gov.nu.ca; Dan Strasbourg, Director, Corporate Communications, Canada
Health Infoway, (416) 595-3424, dstrasbourg@infoway-inforoute.ca


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