What is a Patient Summary?

A patient summary is not a patient’s entire health record, but a portion of it. It’s comprised of a standardized collection of patient information: the necessary minimum and sufficient data to inform a patient’s treatment at a point of care. It may include elements like a patient’s medications, allergies and immunizations.

Patient summaries can help improve:

  • Coordination of care and clinical workflow efficiencies
  • Health outcomes and patient safety
  • Patient and provider experiences
  • Information sharing

In situations such as:

  • Medical emergencies
  • Walk-in visits, where providers are unfamiliar with a patient
  • Transitions of care

International Patient Summary

In 2021, Canada and the other G7 nations committed to “…work towards adopting a standardised minimum health dataset for patients’ health information, including through the International Patient Summary (IPS) standard.”

The IPS enables important information from patient summaries to be shared across regions and countries in a standardized way. Several international efforts are underway to advance work on the IPS, including within the Global Digital Health Partnership (GDHP), an international collaboration of governments, government agencies, countries and territories and the World Health Organization.

Patient Summary in Canada

To fulfil Canada’s G7 commitment, while addressing necessary provincial and territorial variances, Infoway is facilitating a collaborative development process with the aim of publishing a pan-Canadian Patient Summary specification (PS-CA) for trial implementation by early 2022.

The PS-CA is based on the IPS specification, as defined by IHE, HL7 and ISO/DIS 27269. It defines building blocks to create and share a condition-independent and speciality-agnostic patient summary.

Because the PS-CA is based upon the IPS, but is not the IPS, the provinces and territories will be able to configure its building blocks to address any necessary variances while ensuring alignment to the IPS specification.

People stacking wooden blocks
The PS-CA can work within the local environment while still aligning to international standards and supporting information sharing between providers, organizations and jurisdictions.

By the Numbers

tests performed for 6 profiles
vendor representatives
roundtable sessions

Pan-Canadian Projectathon

Through active participation from multiple stakeholders, an initial draft of the PS-CA specification has been published and an iterative three-stage review and feedback process completed; the outcome of this process was a testable specification, which was the focus of the first pan-Canadian Projectathon. 

With support from IHE Catalyst, Infoway hosted the Projectathon rom March 21-23, 2022. During this prototyping and validation event, over 30 participants from five health information technology (HIT) vendors connected live to prototype, test and improve the quality of the pan-Canadian Patient Summary interoperability specifications.

They completed development in their systems to align with the PS-CA specification and they were able to create and exchange a well-formed, standards-based patient summary. The Projectathon represents a key milestone on the road to more connected, collaborative care!

Throughout the event, we captured many lessons learned, and we look forward to releasing PS-CA v1.0 for trial implementation in summer 2022.

Stay up to the date with the latest events, discussions and more by visiting the Patient Summaries Working Group on InfoCentral.  Learn more about the PS-CA specification and its releases on InfoScribe.

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