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Clinicians Caring for Residents of Manitoba First Nations Communities Working Towards Exchanging Patient Health Information with Other Care Providers

Ready access to vital patient information to improve patient experience, lead to more efficient care

July 3, 2013 (Sagkeeng First Nation, MB) – Authorized clinicians who care for residents of nine Manitoba First Nation Communities can now access patient medical information electronically using a community Electronic Medical Record (cEMR). This is the first step in working towards exchanging electronic health information, announced Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) Grand Chief Derek Nepinak, together with Richard Alvarez, President and CEO, Canada Health Infoway (Infoway).

AMC Grand Chief Derek Nepinak applauds the success of the project and the positive partnerships that have arisen because of it. "I would like to commend the work of this project as it has enabled a number of our First Nation front line community based health care providers to improve the health of our First Nation citizens through the establishment of innovative partnerships. This project has also allowed the First Nations to focus on the development and adoption of modern IT systems for the purpose of defining, collecting, communicating, managing, disseminating and using data to enable better access and quality of health care in our First Nation communities. It is my hope that the sustainability of this project will continue to be a priority for the Government of Canada."

The cEMR is working towards interoperability with the Health Information Access Layer (HIAL), which will enable the secure exchange of medical information such as nurse charts, administered immunizations, allergies and medication history between the nine First Nation Communities and authorized electronic medical record systems. By providing ready access to vital information to authorized clinicians when and where they need it, more informed care decisions can be made more quickly, resulting in efficiencies and quicker access to care.

"Central to the milestone we are celebrating today is the level of collaboration among the many partners who came together to bring digital health to the nine First Nation Communities," said Alvarez. "Clinicians will now have improved access to the information they need to make informed care decisions, leading to an improved patient experience."

"Today we are celebrating the collaboration that has resulted in the switch from paper to digital. When you look at the new system from a First Nations perspective it is ultimately a step forward creating an improved management system. This achievement will help ensure health care providers have the information they need at the point of care ensuring continuity of service. It is high time and we welcome this new approach," said Chief Garrison Settee of the Cross Lake Band of Indians (CLBOI).

Developed by First Nations to offer solutions designed around First Nation Health Centre needs, the Mustimuhw cEMR seeks to advance compatibility with clinical Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems in First Nation communities so patient information can be shared more easily amongst authorized care providers both on and off reserve.

"Implementing and utilizing Mustimuhw has brought an excellent communication tool to our FN community. We have various health service programs that can now collaborate on files effectively, in a timely fashion, and can enforce confidentiality. It has elevated many office processes, where it provides more client service interaction. The program is effective, efficient and very user friendly", said CLBOI Systems Champion Marsha Ross.

The primary outcome of this project was to enable a cEMR operated by an on-reserve health centre to interoperate with a provincially-certified EMR operated by a primary care practitioner within or outside of the community. The third phase of the project, which begins in the fall of 2013, involves testing of the Mustimuhw cEMR to ensure it exchanges information, such as immunization information, with the provincial Manitoba eHealth Hub.

Working with the cEMR application developer and several partner organizations, Gordon Point Informatics provided input for its development. They identified information sharing requirements for continuity of care across multiple jurisdictions (First Nations, provincial health care, federal health, regional health authorities, private physicians, etc.) and how these can be better served through interoperable systems, while respecting First Nations privacy and OCAP (Ownership, Control, Access, Possession) governance principles.

The nine Mustimuhw sites continue to forge ahead fulfilling the overarching goals of the AMC Mustimuhw projects:

  • Improving delivery of services through technology;
  • Reducing patient wait times and improving the delivery of health care;
  • Increasing technology and communications capabilities in Manitoba First Nation communities, including trained "Systems Champions" that will contribute to the future Centre of Excellence; and,
  • Improving quality of care.

"At the end of the day it is always about effective service delivery to our communities. The project partners have made a significant contribution in this regard by enabling a tool that meets the unique requirements of First Nations community based service providers. The commitment of the communities involved in this collaboration has been outstanding," said Cowichan Tribes of British Columbia, Ts'ewultun Health Centre Executive Director Judith Gohn.

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For more information:

Contact for Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs:

Sheila North-Wilson
Chief Communications Officer
Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs
Tel: (204) 957-8450
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Contact for Infoway: 

Karen Schmidt
Director, Corporate Communications
Canada Health Infoway
Tel: (416) 595-3167
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