Empowering consumers with their health records

    Canada to take a close look at PHRs

    TORONTO, April 17 /CNW/ - As the Internet has enabled consumers to manage
important aspects of their personal lives from the relative comfort of their
home, it is no surprise that Canadians are becoming increasingly intrigued by
the prospect of being able to view and manage their health information using
emerging personal health records (PHR) technologies.
    Recent announcements by major players in the IT industry suggest such
capabilities are just around the corner. Recognizing developments in this area
are moving quickly, Canada's federal, provincial and territorial health
ministries have expressed support for Canada Health Infoway's (Infoway) plan
to discuss personal health record solutions with interested vendors and to
explore how these technologies could be made available to Canadians in a
secure manner.
    "Providing Canadians and their health care providers with appropriate and
secure access to their health information has been our goal from the onset,"
said Richard Alvarez, President and CEO of Canada Health Infoway, the
federally-funded, independent, not-for-profit organization that is leading the
adoption of electronic health records across Canada. "The prospect of seeing
consumer health solutions in the Canadian marketplace is an exciting
development indeed. It is also critical that we ensure these offerings provide
the appropriate level of trust, protecting the privacy and security of
Canadians' health information."
    "The Government of Canada, through its funding of Infoway, is investing
in the national transition from paper to electronic health records," said the
Honourable Tony Clement, Federal Minister of Health. "I am pleased that
personal health record solutions will complement and leverage our investments
to date in e-health solutions. With the appropriate ground work in place, PHRs
will ultimately deliver greater value to Canadian patients."
    "Canadians are taking increasingly active roles in managing their chronic
diseases and preventing illness from setting in," said Chris d'Entremont,
Minister of Health for Nova Scotia, who serves as the liaison minister between
Infoway and federal, provincial and territorial health ministers. "Our
investments in the implementation of electronic health records are crucial to
our goal of ensuring Canadians have access to the information and tools they
need to manage their care. The onset of personal health record solutions can
accelerate our desire to enable patients to have these capabilities."
    A number of technology vendors have expressed interest in creating
solutions that will equip Canadians with the technology they need to view
their medical data. Working with Infoway and its partners will help ensure the
solutions available to Canadians will leverage the progress made in
implementing electronic health record projects across Canada. Using technology
solutions that are compatible with Infoway's blueprint will ensure patient
privacy and security provisions are adhered to.
    Infoway has funded 249 electronic health record projects across Canada to
date. These secure systems are leading the pan-Canadian switch from
inefficient paper-based storage of medical data such as lab test results,
prescription history and allergy information to electronic systems that are
far more efficient, save money, and save lives.

    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 further information:

For further information: Dan Strasbourg, Director, Corporate
Communications, Canada Health Infoway, dstrasbourg@infoway-inforoute.ca, (416)

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