Canada invests $500 million in electronic health record (EHR) systems with a focus on physicians and nurse practitioners across Canada

September 27, 2010 (Toronto, ON) - Canadian physicians and nurse practitioners will benefit from a $500 million investment made by the Government of Canada in Budget 2010, announced Richard Alvarez, President and CEO of Canada Health Infoway (Infoway).


Of the total amount allocated to Infoway, $380 million of the new money will be directed to speed up the implementation of electronic medical record systems.

EMR systems are the gateway that will enable physicians and nurse practitioners to securely access vital patient information including diagnostic images, blood test results, drug histories and clinical reports.

"A number of provinces and territories are making solid progress developing systems to electronically store the patient information that is far too often unavailable when health providers need it," said Alvarez. "The time has come to shift our attention to the front-lines, where the lion's share of care is delivered, so more physicians and nurse practitioners can access and retrieve the information stored in these systems."

EMRs will provide physicians and nurse practitioners with a better picture of their patients' overall health so better informed care decisions can be made. They also allow health care professionals to record their clinical notes electronically, eliminating the need for inefficient paper-based systems.

"Electronic medical records will allow health professionals to access the vital patient information that is too often lacking in a paper-based environment," added Alvarez. "Currently, 37 per cent of community-based physicians have adopted EMR systems across Canada. The new funding is intended to significantly increase their use in clinics, clinician offices and ambulatory care clinics."

In addition, funding from the $500 million invested by the Government of Canada will be used to support consumer health, diagnostic imaging and telehealth solutions.

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.

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