“Giving those who work in busy specialty clinics easier and secure access to patient information gathered from inside and outside the clinic improves care,” said Alvarez. “New investments in enhanced electronic medical record systems are helping to make this a reality for 25,000 health care providers across Canada.”
Canada Health Infoway, along with the provinces, territories, and health care organizations, are investing in 19 ambulatory (outpatient) EMR projects across Canada, each with the goal of providing authorized clinicians with tools to support activities such as electronic note-taking, review of patient data from previous visits, clinical decision support, ordering of tests and viewing test results.
Almost half of Canadian adults (44 per cent) say that they consulted with a medical specialist in the last year, and many of these visits took place in hospital outpatient clinics. While more than a third of those who had a specialist appointment (37 per cent) say that their specialists always knew important information about their medical history, many report information gaps. EMR systems aim to address this issue. For example, they may enable authorized health providers from different settings to exchange information about a patient’s previous care, to quickly access clinical test results, or to see a patient’s complete medication history.
“Outpatient care is on the rise in Canada and many patients receive care in more than one place, so it’s essential that we streamline how health professionals at outpatient clinics access and use information,” added Alvarez. “Less time spent chasing down information means more time that can be spent with patients.”
This initiative is part of a $380 million federal investment made in 2010 which has resulted in increased use of EMR systems across Canada.
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.