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February 5, 2013 (Ottawa, ON) – Today, the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Canada's Minister of Health, was at CHEO to meet with the front line staff and physicians who are developing the Electronic Health Record (EHR).

The EHR will support the high quality care CHEO is renowned for by creating an accessible one-patient, one-record system that will eliminate duplication of records and testing, and will help clinicians better manage care. Information will be readily available to them with the click of a mouse.

"We know that an electronic health record system improves the safety and accountability of the health-care system," said Minister Aglukkaq. "And seeing first-hand how CHEO's staff and clinicians are working as one team to support the patient reinforces the value of an integrated and connected health care system."

The Minister also met with Julie and Brian Drury. Their daughter, Kate, suffers from a medically complex disease. She has a seven-volume patient record at CHEO, is a regular patient at the emergency department and in-patient units, and visits more than 12 of CHEO's out-patient clinics. For them, an electronic health record will be welcome news.

"We get great care at CHEO. However, one of the greatest frustrations our family deals with is to constantly retell Kate's story each time we meet with a new doctor, resident or nurse," said Julie. "It will be great to go in for an appointment and know that our daughter's physician has the most up-to-date information so we can focus on the reason for the visit."

CHEO's electronic health record will be rolled out in phases over the next five years and will eventually lead to the elimination of most paper records. Paper records are harder to maintain - families may arrive at CHEO to be seen in multiple clinics. Physicians may be working from old charts that may not be physically accessible. They may spend valuable time repeating a patient history that is already known and may re-order tests or procedures because they are unaware that a colleague has requested the same. Young patients could have blood drawn multiple times only to discover that once would have been sufficient.

"We pride ourselves delivering quality care, but we know there is more we can to improve the patient experience," said Alex Munter, chief executive officer, CHEO. "Technology can be a powerful enabler – fundamentally changing how healthcare is delivered. This is an important step in that journey and we will ensure the patient remains at the forefront of every decision we make, every dollar we spend."

CHEO's integrated EHR will be rolled out first to link the laboratory information system with outpatient specialty clinics. Care providers will be able to electronically order tests for patients who are not admitted to the hospital, review the results and even see pending tests within moments of the record being updated. By 2017, the entire hospital, including all off-site services, will be operating on an electronic system.

The move to an electronic health record has been supported at CHEO through the community and the Foundation, and by more than $2.8 million in from the Federal Government through Canada Health Infoway.

"CHEO's tremendous progress in making the switch from paper to digital is part of the modernization of health care happening across the country with every province and territory at the table," said Richard Alvarez, President and CEO, Canada Health Infoway. "The Government of Canada's continued support is instrumental in generating efficiencies to improve patient care while at the same time bending the health care cost curve."

About CHEO

The Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario is a pediatric health and research center providing outstanding family-centered patient care, pioneering breakthrough research, and training the health care professionals of tomorrow. Over the past thirty-eight years, CHEO has established itself as a world-class centre providing leading-edge treatment, diagnostic and laboratory services for children and youth aged 0 to their 18th birthday.

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.

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For more information:

Dan Strasbourg
Director, Media Relations
Canada Health Infoway
Tel: (416) 595-3424
dstrasbourg@infoway-inforoute.ca

Alycia White-Brown
Communications Advisor
Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario - CHEO
Tel: (613) 983-3340
awhitebrown@cheo.on.ca

Cailin Rodgers
Health Canada
Press Secretary
(613) 957-0200