March 9, 2011 (Winnipeg, MB) - Manitoba's electronic health-record system, known as eChart Manitoba, was launched today by Health Minister Theresa Oswald at Kildonan Medical Centre, the first site to implement the new system.
"This is the culmination of a great deal of work, including the development of a number of systems to feed patient information into eChart, and it is very exciting to see it all come together," said Oswald. "As more sites become linked to eChart, it will be possible for a person's key health information to travel with them to different health providers across the province."
EChart Manitoba is a tool for authorized health-care providers to view key information about a patient such as dispensed medications, immunization and laboratory test results. As eChart continues to evolve, more information from additional sources will feed into eChart, said Oswald. The system is designed to provide instant access to the information that health-care providers require to make informed care decisions leading to increased patient safety and reduce unnecessary duplication of tests. The $40-million cost of the program was included in funds announced for medical information systems in April 2007 and includes a $27.5-million investment by Canada Health Infoway, the federally funded organization investing in information and communications technology projects across Canada.
Kildonan Medical Centre was the first site to go live with five more sites quickly following in Winnipeg, Brandon and Notre Dame de Lourdes. By July, the system will be in use in 30 sites across Manitoba, Oswald noted. Initially eChart will be available in selected primary-care and emergency-department settings and additional sites in future phases. The phases have been scheduled to be of the most benefit to the most patients, the minister said.
"EChart Manitoba is connecting care across the province," said Dr. Ricardo Lobato de Faria of Manitoba eHealth's Electronic Health Record Project Steering Committee. "If your family physician is in Notre Dame de Lourdes and you get tests done in Winnipeg, your doctor will have immediate, electronic access to those results. In time, every doctor will have the opportunity to be able to access their patients' eChart records so that they have the information they need, when they need it."
"The milestone we are celebrating today is one that will place the information that health professionals need to make proper care decisions in their hands quickly and securely," said Richard Alvarez, president and CEO, Canada Health Infoway. "When clinicians are properly informed, patient care is improved, time and money are saved, as are precious lives."
Only those health-care providers who are involved in a patient's care are allowed to access that patient's information. Every authorized user of the system will have a unique user name and password. All access in eChart will be tracked and audited, said Oswald. Manitobans have the option to add a disclosure directive to hide their personal health information in eChart Manitoba. They can also request a copy of their information held in the system and find out who has viewed their record.
"It's critical that health-care providers have the information they need but just as critical that people's personal information is protected," the minister said.
With the launch of eChart, an awareness campaign will also get underway to ensure the members of the public are aware of how health information is managed and secured as well as how they can exert control over their records. Print, radio and web advertisements will be run over the next few weeks and information will be available at health service sites as they join the system.
Formed by Manitoba Health in 2006, Manitoba eHealth is a province-wide initiative, housed within the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. It has been tasked with the development of health information technology for Manitoba. Funding for eHealth projects is provided by Manitoba Health and Canada Health Infoway, an independent, not-for-profit organization funded by the federal government.
Manitobans are encouraged to access www.echartmanitoba.ca for more information.
Canada Health Infoway is an independent, not-for-profit organization funded by the federal government that invests with public sector partners across Canada to implement and reuse compatible health information systems that support a safer, more efficient health-care system.
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