Alberta health regions to install new Meditech systems
RED DEER, Alta. – Seven rural health regions in Alberta have agreed to
implement a shareable electronic patient record system, using Meditech's
The initiative will cost $92 million; the Alberta government will
contribute $64 million over the course of implementation, with the
health regions adding $28 million. With one shared data centre to be
located in Red Deer, the health regions will save an estimated $27
million over the seven-year implementation phase of the project.
The Regional Shared Health Information Program replaces separate and
aging clinical information systems, responsible for items such as
tracking physician orders for tests and medications, scheduling patient
tests or procedures. Modern clinical information systems are an
essential element in reducing duplication of service and preventing
“Patient safety is
of the utmost importance. This initiative affords us an opportunity to
improve critical factors related to patient safety -- access to the
system, and accurate and timely provision of information," said Gary
Mar, Minister of Health and Wellness (pictured at left).
The program will enable these regions to link to the Alberta Electronic
Health Record, which allows physicians, pharmacists, hospitals, home
care and other providers across the province to securely share pertinent
The successful candidates in the procurement process are Medical
Information Technology Inc. (Meditech), which will supply the software,
and JJWild, which will provide project management services. Both vendors
are from Massachusetts.
Northern Lights and David Thompson health regions will adopt the new
system first, as their current vendors will cease to provide technical
support in the next few months. Other regions will follow in the years
"The health regions have worked collaboratively to develop a plan to
address our information technology needs, and to provide the
infrastructure for a common electronic health record," said Gil Tourigny,
Chinook Health Region CEO and chair of the committee overseeing the
project. "We're pleased about the benefits this project will bring to
the nearly one million Albertans who receive care in these regions."
"Taking opportunities to improve access to the system and the quality of
care Albertans receive in these communities is vital, especially when
one considers these seven health regions deliver more than one-third of
the clinical activity in the province," added Mar.
The seven rural health regions are responsible for delivering patient
care to more than one million Albertans living in the Chinook, Palliser,
East Central, David Thompson, Aspen, Peace Country and Northern Lights
According to Alberta Health and Wellness, some health regions do not
have a modern clinical information system, and some of those are in need
of replacement. At the moment there are five different clinical and six
different financial systems operating in these regions. This initiative
will bring all seven rural RHAs under one information system, which will
address clinical and financial information requirements.
Expected benefits include:
• Improved quality of care through a link with the Alberta Electronic
• Improved access to health services;
• Improved operational effectiveness by introducing state-of-the-art
systems to manage clinical activities such as physician orders for
medications or tests;
• Improvements in: accuracy and timely provision of clinical
• ability to meet provincial reporting requirements, and participation
in provincial IT initiatives;
• Common standards will improve the ability to share information,
resources and expertise;
• $27 million in cost savings achieved during implementation by adopting
a common system.
The Regional Shared Health Information Program will ‘plug in’ to the
Alberta Electronic Health Record, in the same way other "regional"
electronic health records will, such as Capital Health's NetCare