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Physician IT

Manitoba creates EMR shortlist

WINNIPEG – Last month, Manitoba selected four suppliers of Electronic Medical Records solutions, saying they are ‘candidates’ to become approved vendors to its physician community.

The four ‘candidate vendors’ and their products, in alphabetical order, are:

Clinicare Corporation
Product name: Clinicare EliteCare 6.5

Code-Med Inc.
Product name: Freedom Paperless Office version 4.5.1
Powered by JonokeMed version 4.5.1

Med Access Inc.
Product name: Med Access version 3.2.1

Optimed Software Corporation
Product name: Accuro version 4

The candidate vendors are required to enter into a Master Standing Agreement with Manitoba and to modify their products to meet all of Manitoba’s core EMR requirements. Once each vendor is ready, Manitoba will conduct a conformance testing process to verify that all core requirements have been met. At this point, the vendor will become an Approved EMR Vendor.

The qualification process started with Pan-Canadian requirements, developed by a collaborative group representing most Canadian jurisdictions. These Pan-Canadian EMR requirements were then reviewed and tailored by physicians in Manitoba.

The resulting requirements were then included in an open procurement process that followed Manitoba Government purchasing policies and procedures. This process allowed all EMR vendors to compete on a fair and objective basis, the government said.

Vendors who applied were evaluated based on their written proposal, demonstrations of the usability of their product, technical assessment, customer reference checks and pricing.

While Manitoba facilitated the process, most of the evaluators were practitioners, including family physicians, clinic managers, specialist physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, allied health professionals, and RHA personnel. During the usability demonstrations, approximately 20 evaluators (including physicians, other clinicians and clinic managers) comprised the evaluation team.

“I found the process to be fair and based on the needs of Manitoban primary care physicians, while looking ahead to the anticipated connectivity to the EHR,” said participant Dr. Chris Burnett. “The bottom line is, there will be better and safer care for our patients while helping us docs manage our practice better.”

This process to identify Approved Vendors was driven by requests from family physicians and RHA-run clinics who recognized the advantages of a provincial vendor qualification process. The EMR will become a vital tool to connect physicians in the community electronically to the rest of the health system.

Vendors were required to propose a complete EMR solution and to offer clinics a choice between using the solution on an application service provider (ASP) basis or a local hosting basis. In an ASP model, the application software resides on a server in a data centre managed by the vendor; workstations in the clinic access the server over a network.

In a locally hosted model the clinic is responsible for housing and managing the servers as well as workstations. Although Manitoba had the option of choosing different vendors in each category, a decision has been made to allow clinics to choose any of the vendors on either the ASP or local hosting basis.

Manitoba set out to select two to three vendors in each category, but has selected four vendors because these vendors were not clearly differentiated in the final scores.

Manitoba eHealth is establishing a Primary Care/Community Physician Information System Support (PCISS) office to assist physicians and clinics in acquiring an EMR that will meet their needs.