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Richard Alvarez, Canada Health Infoway

by Lloyd Davis

Some lessons from Canada

whcc europe 2008 015

Federal government sets the standards and national principles while provinces do the heavy lifting (80%+ of spending) - within the 13 provinces there are 100 regional health providers.

We’re still trying to do a 21st century job with 19th century paperwork. This has a knock-on impact in terms of risk-management and prevention - people miss out on treatment, errors are made in diagnosis. But the need to manage health information will intensify - resource pressures are intensifying, consumerism is growing, population is aging, care settings are shifting - providers, managers, patients and the public are demanding more access, quality and productivity.

Canada Health Infoway was created as part of First Ministers Agreement in 2001. It’s an independent, not-for-profit corporation accountable to 14 different governments - estimated $10 billion total program cost.

Collaboration is the name of the game - as well as co-investment. We’ve been forming strategic alliances with the private sector, managing risk and remembering this is a people-solution so we’ve been focusing a lot on end-user acceptance.

We’re concerned to show benefits in terms of quality access and productivity - so we’ve developed 23 new key indicators to measure and show improvement.

We’ve made enormous progress, all the client registries are active and operational, e-prescibing and lab information systems are rolling out as is medical imaging. So we’re now in a position to start showing how EHR’s can be leveraged to improve care at a local level.


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