Canadian medical schools to strengthen training on effective clinical use of information and communications technologies

(Toronto, ON) - Better preparing medical students to practice in modern, technology-enabled, clinical environments is the aim of a new initiative launched today by the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC) and Canada Health Infoway (Infoway).

Canada's medical schools, students, and residents are invited to join in this three-year effort to strengthen learning on effective clinical use of information and communications technologies (ICT).

"In Canada and around the world, clinicians are improving quality of care, access, and productivity through the use of information and communications technologies," said Jennifer Zelmer, Senior Vice-President, Clinical Adoption, and Innovation Canada Health Infoway. "By giving clinicians in training a good foundation on the effective use of these tools in clinical practice, physicians of tomorrow can better harness these benefits in their practices and for their patients."

The AFMC-Infoway Clinicians in Training project aims to improve clinical practice and patient care by supporting medical students and residents in their adoption and use of information and communications technologies, such as electronic medical records. It will engage the 17 faculties of medicine across Canada, including educators, informatics experts, students and residents. The project will include a variety of components, such as the creation and sharing of curriculum-based resources and e-learning tools. There will also be a focus on clinical use of ICT at the Canadian Conference on Medical Education, a virtual patient challenge for students, and a yearly AFMC/Infoway award for leaders who advance medical informatics in education and learning opportunities related to electronic health record systems.

"Canada is home to world class medical schools whose educators and students recognize the value and potential of information and communication technologies to improve health and health care," said Irving Gold, Vice President, Government Relations & External Affairs, Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada. "By helping medical schools embed training on effective use of ICT into their programs, AFMC and Infoway aim to support clinicians in training to deliver high quality, modern health care for their patients in the future."

Infoway's investment in support of clinicians in training is part of the $500 million in new funding provided by the Government of Canada in its 2010 Budget. This first project focuses on the needs of physicians. Projects for other health professionals are expected to be announced shortly.

About Canada Health Infoway

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 information and communications technology 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.

About the Association of Faculties of Medicine (AFMC)

Founded in 1943, AFMC represents Canada's 17 faculties of medicine and is the voice of academic medicine in this country. We act to support medical education, health research, and clinical care in our faculties of medicine. Canada's faculties of medicine graduate over 2400 MDs a year; have over 10,500 undergraduate medical students enrolled and over 13,200 postgraduate trainees; and employ over 34,670 full and part-time faculty members. Canada's faculties of medicine received over $2.5 billion in biomedical and health research in 2008-09.

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For more information:

Irving Gold

Vice President, Government Relations and External Affairs
The Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC)
Tel.: 613-730-0687 ext. 236
Cell: 613-983-9436
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Karen Schmidt
Director, Corporate/Internal Communications
Canada Health Infoway
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