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Physician IT

Ontario launches test of e-Prescribing

TORONTO – eHealth Ontario, a provincially funded agency, has established its first test sites for electronic prescribing. Two initial sites have been set up in Sault Ste. Marie and Collingwood, Ont.

ePrescribing is the process of generating, authorizing and transmitting prescriptions from doctors and other prescribers to pharmacists and other dispensers. It eliminates hand-written prescriptions by physicians and facilitates the electronic delivery of prescriptions to pharmacies.

The two sites consist of the Group Health Centre in Sault Ste. Marie and Georgian Bay Family Health Team in Collingwood.


Dr. Lewis O’Brien (left) and pharmacist Glenn Thompson (right) explain the ePrescribing Demonstration Project to David Caplan, Ontario Minister for Health and Long-Term Care (centre). The province’s first ePrescribing Program was launched by eHealth Ontario and the Ontario Ministry for Health and Long-Term Care. (CNW Group/eHealth Ontario)


Through the two sites, eHealth Ontario will examine workflow, change management requirements, regulation guidelines and the impact on physicians, nurse practitioners, pharmacists and patients. The project will help inform future implementation of a province-wide ePrescribing system.

This new tool is a key component of eHealth Ontario’s Medication Management strategy and is expected to dramatically improve patient safety and quality of care by reducing prescription errors.

“Every year, an estimated 400,000 Ontarians suffer a preventable reaction to medication. Four thousand will die as a result. We expect the ePrescribing Demonstration Program will reduce the chance of errors and adverse drug reactions, ensuring better care for patients requiring prescriptions,” said Sarah Kramer, President and CEO, eHealth Ontario

In an interview, Kramer said applications such as ePrescribing are likely to encourage more physicians to adopt electronic medical record systems. For its part, eHealth Ontario aims to have 35% of physicians sending scripts via the ePrescribing system by 2012.

“ePrescribing is an integral part of our eHealth Strategy, which is all about providing 21st century health care to Ontario patients. Lessons learned from this program will be used to inform the implementation and adoption strategies for a provide-wide ePrescribing solution,” said David Caplan, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

The ePrescribing Demonstration Project began in Sault Ste. Marie and Collingwood in April 2009. The pilot is expected to be completed in June 2009.

Physicians and other prescribers at each site will work directly with patients interested in participating, to explain how the new process will impact them.

The College of Nurses of Ontario, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario and the Ontario College of Pharmacists have issued a joint letter of support for the project.


ePrescribing Demonstration Project

ePrescribing - the process of electronically generating, authorizing (signing) and transmitting prescriptions from doctors and other prescribers to pharmacists and other dispensers - is recognized as an important tool for improved patient safety and quality of care. Electronic prescribing has the potential to reduce the chance of errors, thereby ensuring better care for patients requiring prescriptions.

The ePrescribing Demonstration Project will:

• Provide pharmacists with access to Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) to view pending prescriptions and a subset of clinically-relevant information; and,

• Validate key electronic prescribing outcomes in two local settings to develop tools and templates that will be used to inform the roll out of provincial ePrescribing, including workflow, change management requirements and regulatory considerations.

Two family physician practices that are advanced in the use of the electronic medical record (EMR) were selected (through a proposal review process) for the ePrescribing Demonstration Project.

The locations are: Group Health Centre in Sault Ste. Marie and Georgian Bay Family Health Team in Collingwood. Each site will use a solution that is unique to their respective practices and geographic areas. The two project sites will study the outcomes of each solution that will provide valuable lessons for the adoption of the provincial ePrescribing solution.

Participants: 16 general practitioners, 5 specialists and 7 nurse practitioners from Group Health Centre are participating. 24 general practitioners and 4 nurse practitioners from Georgian Bay Family Health Team are participating.

Twenty-two pharmacies in Sault Ste. Marie and 17 pharmacies in the area of Collingwood, Wasaga Beach, The Blue Mountains, and Clearview (including Stayner, Nottawa, Duntroon and Creemore) are participating.

Physicians and other prescribers at each site will work directly with patients interested in participating, to explain how the new process will impact them. Patient agreement to participate will be handled as part of the normal agreement process that will be defined by each site.


Regulatory Colleges

The College of Nurses of Ontario, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario and the Ontario College of Pharmacists have been consulted regarding regulatory issues, such as secure prescription authentication and patient choice. The Colleges have issued a joint letter of support for the project and will be kept informed about the outcomes.


eHealth Ontario

Working in partnership with the government of Ontario, eHealth Ontario published the first eHealth Strategy for Ontario in March 2009. The strategy is focused on providing a comprehensive, patient-focused, secure, and private electronic system that will change the way Ontarians receive care in the province. eHealth will bring about innovation and drive the transformation of Ontario’s healthcare system, building toward an electronic health record for all Ontarians by 2015. eHealth Ontario is a new organization that plays the leading role in harnessing technology and innovation to improve patient care, safety, and access in support of the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s health strategy. eHealth Ontario will provide a single, harmonized, coherent province-wide eHealth Strategy and align it through a single point of accountability. Its work will enable and fulfill the government’s strategic healthcare priorities.

 

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