box10.gif (1299 bytes)








Healthscreen opens medical clinics in Loblaws outlets

By Karen Gersohn

Healthscreen Solutions Inc., of St. Catharines, Ont., a leading developer of physician office software, has expanded its operations by opening several walk-in and full service medical clinics at Loblaws supermarkets.

Healthscreen announced the opening of its first Primacy Medical Clinic -- located within the new Zehrs Real Canadian Superstore, in St Catharines, in July 2004. Since then, the company has taken over the operation of two more Primacy clinics located in Loblaws supermarkets, in Leamington and Cambridge, Ont., and will soon be running a Windsor clinic.

Healthscreen also owns and operates several walk-in clinics that are not part of the Primacy/Loblaws partnership.

Primacy Management Inc., a Canadian management company, has an exclusive agreement with Loblaws Companies Ltd. to establish and administer clinics in their supermarkets across Canada. Loblaws is the largest food retailer in Canada, with over 10,900 supermarkets operating under various banners, including the Atlantic Superstore, Dominion, Fortinos, Loblaws, No Frills, Valu-Mart, Real Canadian Superstore and other brands.

John Boag, president of Primacy, said the clinics were offered to Healthscreen because “they saw that the sites had the potential to provide good care to a high volume of customers,” and they are committed to providing extended hours and seven days a week coverage. “They have a good network of physicians and they have a good reputation for patient care.”

Primacy Management has 21 clinics operating in Loblaws stores in Ontario, eastern and western Canada; eight more will be opening over the next few months.

Dr Bruce Rosenberg, CEO of Healthscreen Solutions, said it’s important for a medical practice to have a high-traffic location. “Loblaws knows how to pick great locations, they know where the people are.”

Not to mention the convenience for patients, who are now able to attend to their health and shopping needs at one accessible location. According to Boag, there is no better location than a Loblaws. “Most of them have fitness centres, they have pharmacies, they have healthy eating, and organic product lines and on top of that, they have banking and other services.”

He pointed out that patients, doctors and staff of the clinics located in grocery stores have access to free parking, good security and in some of the stores, community centres. The clinic in St Catharines has three family physicians operating a family practice, a laboratory, and a growing walk-in clinic, which makes use of additional physicians.

Boag said Primacy does not specify what software, if any, should be used in the clinics.

For its part, Healthscreen supplies its Electronic Medical Records (EMR) software to all its physicians in its Primacy clinics.

According to Dr Rosenberg, the software allows the physicians to practice more effectively and efficiently. “Healthscreen is easy to use, and we have so many different ways that we can use it. Physicians can do all, some, or none of the actual data entry themselves, and still end up with an electronic record.”

He added that, “Over 30 doctors work at the Healthscreen Niagara Clinics, and some of them are very computer-literate and some are not, and yet we are still completely paperless.” In a paperless office, he noted, records are never lost and time is not wasted on filing and searching for records.

Patient records can be accessed remotely between Healthscreen’s clinics, but only with the patient’s permission. Dr Rosenberg said that the clinics are linked electronically to all the major laboratories in Ontario.

“All of our lab results are downloaded, and we are able to receive some diagnostic imaging reports electronically. It is an ongoing effort for us to try and get more linkages to more and more information sources. One of our locations does have an electronic line to a drugstore, but none of our Primacy sites does at this time”

Dr Rosenberg, a practicing physician, says his electronic medical records company originally “started as a hobby and grew into a business. Now over 5,000 physicians are using the software.” In addition to Ontario, Healthscreen is also active in Saskatchewan and British Columbia, and is currently making the move to supply software solutions in the United States.

Dr Rosenberg said there are two sites in New York State that will soon be running Healthscreen software.