Health Care Providers Form Working Group to Maximize Value of e-Prescribing

(Toronto, ON) - A new working group of clinicians from various disciplines will help shape the future of e-Prescribing in Canada, announced Richard Alvarez, President and CEO, Canada Health Infoway (Infoway).

"Infoway greatly values the advice and knowledge health care providers have shared with us over the years," said Alvarez. "We are continuing this practice by forming an e-Prescribing Working Group, to bring leadership to our efforts to promote electronic prescribing. The goal is to contribute to the efforts of provinces, territories and the private sector to integrate e-Prescribing functionality into the clinical systems used by health professionals."

The working group is chaired by Dr. Brendan Bunting, a physician and former President of the Alberta Medical Association.

"It's essential that considerations such as workflow and functionality-from the perspective of the health care providers who will be using e-Prescribing-be part of the planning from the onset," said Dr. Bunting. "The working group provides a forum in which that dialogue can occur, taking into account the perspectives of various clinical disciplines from different parts of Canada before the systems are designed and built."

The other members of the working group are:

  • Dr. Eric Balser, a physician from Nova Scotia
  • Dr. Keith Clark, a physician from Saskatchewan
  • Dr. Stephen Holland, a physician from British Columbia
  • Ms. Iris Krawchenko, a pharmacist from Ontario
  • Ms. Claudia Mariano, a nurse practitioner from Ontario

e-Prescribing allows health providers to fill out and send prescriptions electronically so their patients' pharmacists of choice can access them instantly. Accessing prescriptions electronically increases the productivity of health professionals and helps keep patients safer by reducing medication errors.

The establishment of the e-Prescribing Working Group is part of Infoway's strategy to increase the use of Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems in Canada. The EMR is the record that a clinician maintains on his or her own patients, which details demographics, medical and drug history, and diagnostic information such as laboratory results and findings from diagnostic imaging.

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.

Biographies - e-Prescribing Working Group

Dr. Eric Balser

Dr. Balser is a General Practitioner from Middleton, Nova Scotia. He has been involved in numerous IT initiatives in Nova Scotia and has been using an EMR since he started his practice 11 years ago. A former member of Infoway's Physician Resource Group, Dr. Balser served as a member of the Doctors Nova Scotia IT Steering Committee for five years.

Dr. Brendan Bunting

Dr. Bunting served as President of the Alberta Medical Association (AMA) in 2003-2004, subsequently serving on the Canadian Medical Association Board for three years. Dr. Bunting has been practising in Ponoka, Alberta since 1980. Since implementing an EMR in 2002, he has become increasingly involved in efforts to advance the EHR. Dr. Bunting's special interests include working on data sharing arrangements as well as e-prescribing.

Dr. Keith Clark

Dr. Clark has been a practising family physician in Saskatoon for more than 20 years. He developed a keen interest in informatics while evaluating Electronic Medical Record (EMR) solutions for the provincial medical association. Dr. Clark continues to work with the provincial EMR program and also with the Saskatoon Health Region as Chief Medical Informatics Officer.

Dr. Stephen Holland

Dr. Holland is a clinical gastroenterologist with a long-standing interest in medical informatics. He has been involved in many aspects of EMR deployment and integration. Presently, Dr. Holland serves on several medically-related Information Technology committees, looking at facilitating the sharing of clinical data between EMRs and Electronic Health Records (EHRs), including: electronic order entry, pharmacy data integration, and e-prescribing strategies.

Ms. Iris Krawchenko

Ms. Krawchenko is Pharmacist and Chair of the Board of Directors for Dell Pharmacy's 17 locations in Hamilton, Ontario. She was recently reappointed by the Ontario Minister of Health and Long-Term Care to serve as a member of the Ontario Pharmacy Council. Ms Krawchenko is past President of the Ontario College of Pharmacists and is credited with the creation of the Task Force on Optimizing the Role of the Pharmacist, of which she was Chair. In 2007, she received the Pharmacist of the Year Award from the Ontario Pharmacists' Association.

Ms. Claudia Mariano

Ms. Mariano has more than 25 years experience as a registered nurse, and has been a nurse practitioner since 1999 with a special focus on chronic disease management and smoking cessation. Having worked in interdisciplinary team environments in community health centres and with family health teams, Ms. Mariano comes from a primary health care background where she has worked with EMRs for the past seven years. Ms. Mariano is currently President-Elect of the Nurse Practitioners' Association of Ontario.

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For more information:

Angela Jonsson
Chief of Staff and VP, Public Affairs
Canada Health Infoway
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