Posted on May 17, 2016 by Chad Leaver
When you visit a specialist at a hospital clinic for the day, you’re probably there because you received a referral from your family doctor. Or, perhaps you are following up from a recent in-hospital stay, or receiving ongoing care or treatment for a health condition. Maybe, like so many Canadians, you’re helping a family member or friend to get to — and from — appointments. Whatever the reason, you know that a visit to the specialist is an important part of supporting your health care needs and contributes critical information to your health care journey.
Physicians and staff in ambulatory clinics in Canada access health information to support patient care in a variety of ways. According to a 2015 survey, 16 per cent of outpatient ambulatory clinics in Canada have a mainly electronic — close to paperless — patient record keeping system. The majority (51 per cent), however, have electronic medical record (EMR) systems (average of three electronic systems) to access patient information, but still rely on paper charts to document information on patient visits. The remaining 33 per cent say they document information on their patients entirely in paper format.
Infoway’s latest pan-Canadian benefits evaluation study authored by PricewaterhouseCoopers — The Emerging Benefits of EMR Use in Ambulatory Care in Canada — examines the current and emerging value of EMR use for outpatient care in terms of quality, access and productivity benefits. The study estimates $200 million in annual value realized in 2015, and an additional 1.2 million patient visits due to EMRs positively impacting clinic efficiency.
The study also points to the value of advancing adoption and maturity of use among clinicians to drive quality of care. Common barriers to realizing benefits are also highlighted along with a core set of recommendations, priority research areas, and critical success factors for future implementations.
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Chad leads national research, evaluation and communication efforts for Infoway’s Evaluation Services and Consumer Health & Innovation investment portfolios.