Disease management systems
Western provinces receive $8 million for chronic disease
EDMONTON – Canada’s four western provinces will share $8 million in
federal funding to implement common data standards and electronic
messages for the management of three chronic diseases: diabetes,
hypertension and renal failure (or kidney disease).
As the lead jurisdiction, Alberta Health and Wellness will administer
the funding until March 31, 2006 under the auspices of the Western
Health Information Collaborative (WHIC).
$4 million dollars will support WHIC common project work, and $1 million
for each province will support chronic disease management implementation
The burden of care for chronic disease on the patient and the healthcare
system is significant. Key patient information is often inaccessible,
isolated and in non-standard formats. Improvements in chronic disease
management will be supported through the development and use of clinical
information systems that support the delivery of primary healthcare.
The project’s objective is to create standards for chronic disease data
including minimum data sets, information interchange messages and
related data definitions, and the capacity to share this data in support
of clinical decision making for the primary healthcare team.
WHIC submitted a proposal to the Health Canada Primary Healthcare
Transition Fund in January, 2003. The submission was seeking $8 million
in funding to support an innovative and sustainable Chronic Disease
Management (CDM) Infostructure in the four western provinces: British
Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
WHIC was successful in receiving the requested funding. Project funding
is being provided entirely by Health Canada. There is no requirement
that the participating provinces provide additional funding.
“Managing chronic diseases such as diabetes has been identified as a
priority on Alberta’s health agenda. This federal funding is a welcome
and encouraging move,” said Iris Evans, Minister of Alberta Health and
Wellness. “Over the long-term, the Chronic Disease Management
Infostructure will help us deliver appropriate and coordinated primary
healthcare to patients dealing with these diseases as a result of better
information at the point of care. It will also help us to identify
contributing factors in chronic diseases.”
“Comprehensive patient information is a vital tool for healthcare
practitioners, particularly in this time when chronic diseases such as
diabetes and heart disease are on the rise,” said Shirley Bond, BC’s
Minister of Health Services. “That is why this Chronic Disease
Management Infostructure is so important. It will facilitate the sharing
of data between care providers and enhance interdisciplinary care by
allowing information to be available to the appropriate care providers –
at the right time and in the right place.”
“With our unique, diverse population, the management of chronic diseases
like diabetes continues to be a priority in Saskatchewan,” says
Saskatchewan Health Minister, John Nilson. “We appreciate the federal
commitment to this project and look forward to the implementation of the
Chronic Disease Management Infostructure. Improved access to health
information leads to better chronic care management, a key component in
achieving our Action Plan for Saskatchewan Healthcare goal of expanding
primary healthcare across Saskatchewan.”
“Chronic diseases cost the Canadian economy billions of dollars every
year,” said Theresa Oswald, Minister of Healthy Living for Manitoba.
“Through these kinds of federal-provincial partnerships, the provinces
are able to continue to improve access to integrated, effective and
affordable primary healthcare and support individuals and families as
they work to stay healthy.”
The Western Health Information Collaborative (WHIC) mandate is to
explore collaborative opportunities regarding health infostructure
initiatives and support strategic directions for health infostructure at
the national level.
Meeting the complex needs of patients with chronic disease is a great
challenge facing healthcare providers. Common data sets and definitions
facilitate the sharing of information to support clinical decisions by
primary healthcare teams.
The benefits of working towards a chronic disease management solution
through a multi-jurisdictional collaboration will lead to benefits not
achievable independently. Developing a clearer understanding of the
common issues that are faced across the provinces improves the
collective knowledge base from which to build a sustainable, successful
The common project work includes activities to define data standards
around the three chronic diseases – diabetes, hypertension and renal
Implementation Alberta: Calgary Health Region and Capital Health have
been selected as the initial implementation sites within Alberta. These
sites were selected because they were already in the process of
implementing the same computer systems to support chronic disease
management when this project commenced. The focus of Alberta
implementation activities will be to ensure the systems are compliant
with the common standards.
Implementation British Columbia: British Columbia has developed a unique
chronic disease management software application, which is being used by
practitioners, through support from Health Canada’s Primary Healthcare
Transition Fund. Vancouver Island Health Authority and Northern Health
have been selected as proposed test sites, with subsequent
Implementation Manitoba: The sharing of relevant clinical information by
a multi-disciplinary healthcare team is critical to successful
management of chronic disease. Manitoba is in the final stages of
selecting a clinical site for this project and will engage the regions
and primary healthcare providers in discussions to identify detailed
business requirements. This work will inform product
development/acquisition and implementation.
Implementation Saskatchewan: Saskatchewan Health continues to work with
health regions to prepare for the implementation phase.