box10.gif (1299 bytes)







Physician IT

Manitoba to invest $16 million in EMRs

WINNIPEG – In a drive to speed up the adoption of electronic medical records in physician practices, Health Minister Theresa Oswald (pictured) announced that Manitoba will spend $16 million over the next few years to get doctors working in small community clinics that will make use of EMRs.

The money will be used to pay up to 70 percent of implementation costs to help doctors’ offices switch over from paper to electronic records and pay operating costs up to a maximum of $20,000 for the first two years. The incentive is being offered in conjunction with Canada Health Infoway, a national program to accelerate the development of electronic health record projects.

“The ultimate goal is a more connected Manitoba,” said Oswald. “We look forward to many doctors coming on board now. Oswald made the announcement at an annual eHealth Conference in Manitoba for provincial healthcare providers.

She said about 26 percent of doctors in the province have already adopted electronic records. The funding will also help them upgrade their systems.

Oswald said the province is aiming to boost the figure using EMRs to 70 percent of the province’s roughly 1,300 family or community physicians.

She said a small number of physicians are not convinced switching over to electronic records is good for their practice; however, she added many graduating doctors expect patient records to be available at the click of a mouse. Records could include lab results, X-rays, prescriptions and medications and appointment scheduling.

Electronic records are expected to improve efficiencies of medical practices – with faster access to test information and reports, patients will also be able to receive treatments sooner. Moreover, the need to order duplicate tests is expected to be reduced.

Access to electronic records also allows physicians to make more informed decisions about tests and treatments, resulting in better outcomes for patients.

Posted November 4, 2010