Canadian First: Pharmacists and Physicians Exchanging Medical Data Stored In Patients' Electronic Medical Records

    SAULT STE. MARIE, ON, Jan. 22 /CNW Telbec/ - Pharmacists in Sault Ste.
Marie are Canada's first to access lab test results, allergies and other vital
data from consenting patients' electronic medical records.
    Working so collaboratively with primary care physicians at Group Health
Centre (means pharmacists now have accurate and comprehensive medical data on
the patients they care for, which will help reduce adverse medical events.
    "With access to GHC's electronic records, pharmacists in Sault Ste. Marie
are now able to fully collaborate with physicians and the rest of the provider
team and resolve drug- related issues more effectively and efficiently for
their patients," said Ken Burns, pharmacist and chair of the Ontario
Pharmacists' Association.
    "The addition of pharmacists is a natural and long overdue component of
the circle of care. This program enables me to make better use of the
expertise provided by pharmacists, make more efficient use of my time and
hopefully, provides a more convenient and effective patient experience," said
Dr. Lewis O'Brien, Family Physician, Algoma District Medical Group, Physician
Lead, EMRxtra Project.
    Launched in August 2006 as a pilot project with 300 patients, EMRxtra is
one of more than 240 initiatives across Canada that are uncovering
efficiencies throughout the country's health care system by digitizing the
information flow. These projects will also save money, help reduce the number
of adverse medical events and improve patient safety.
    EMRxtra is supported by a $2 million investment from Canada Health
    "To make the most of our health care system, we need to provide the tools
clinicians need to deliver the care their patient deserve," said Richard
Alvarez, President and CEO of Canada Health Infoway, the federally-funded,
independent not-for-profit organization which invests with public sector
partners to accelerate electronic health records across Canada. "As other
industries have already proven, information technologies can provide a
tremendous upside in terms of improving productivity and service delivery.
While we're still in the early days of leveraging IT in our health care system
here in Canada, the work that's being done in Group Health Centre stands as
one of the country's 'shining lights'."


    Infoway is leading the development and implementation of electronic     
health projects across Canada. Infoway works with provinces and territories to
invest in electronic health projects, which support safer, more efficient
health care delivery. Fully respecting patient confidentiality, these private
and secure systems provide health care professionals with immediate access to
complete and accurate patient information, enabling better decisions about
diagnosis and treatment. The result is a sustainable health care system
offering improved quality, accessibility, productivity and cost savings.

    Group Health Centre (GHC) is a multidisciplinary, not-for-profit,
community-based health organization serving over 60,000 primary care patients
in Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma District. Our vision is to provide leadership
and achieve excellence in healthcare and wellness promotion in an atmosphere
of caring and respect for the individual. GHC is home to one of the most
technologically advanced physician group practices (The Algoma District
Medical Group) in Canada with an electronic medical record (EMR) system
implemented since 1997 and is considered as a primary care model across
Canada. With the exception of the pharmacist, our multidisciplinary team is
very comprehensive, including physicians, nurse practitioners,
physiotherapists, chiropodists, dietitians, optometrists, audiologists and

    The Ontario Pharmacists' Association is the professional advocacy
association representing the views and interests of over 10,000 practicing
pharmacists and pharmacists-in-training, in Canada's largest province. OPA
advocates for the quality care and well being of Ontarians. OPA recognizes the
transformation agenda of Ontario and endorses the effective use of information
technology as one of the key strategies to support integration, collaboration
and professional services. It has also been an active promoter of EHR
solutions and has been involved in various e-Health initiatives - Ontario
Health Informatics Standards Council (OHISC), Client Registry and Information
Management (CRIM), Secured Messaging Project from Smart Systems for Health
Agency (SSHA) and others.

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For further information:

For further information: or interviews with an EMRxtra patient,
pharmacist or physician: Elizabeth Bodnar, GHA Senior Manager, Corporate
Relations, Group Health Centre, (705) 759-5529, Cell: (705) 542-9835; Dan
Strasbourg, Director, Corporate Communications, Canada Health Infoway, (416)
595-3424, 1-888-733-6462; Sunny Loo, Director, Information Technology and
eHealth, Ontario Pharmacists' Association, (416) 441-0788 ext. 4258, Cell:
(416) 278-5582

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