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New concept laboratory will advance healthcare technology

TORONTO -- Canada Health Infoway and the Centre for Global eHealth Innovation have launched the “eHealth Collaboratory,” a new concept laboratory designed to help improve technology’s ability to benefit healthcare professionals and patients in Canada.

Infoway has invested $661,300 in startup costs for the Collaboratory. Located in the Centre for Global eHealth Innovations’ facilities, the Collaboratory will leverage the Centre’s technical, clinical and usability (ease of use) expertise.

“The eHealth Collaboratory is a simulator of the future, where vendors, clinicians, technology experts, policy makers and the public can work together to find innovative ways to improve people’s health through information and communication technologies,” said Dr. Alex Jadad (pictured at left), director of the Centre for Global eHealth Innovation.

The Collaboratory will focus on the use of electronic health record (EHR) technology. Infoway and the Centre have issued a Request for Expression of Interest (REOI), inviting vendors to join the Collaboratory and participate in its first demonstration series which will focus on the Physician’s Office of the Future.

“Today, there are still many disparate health information systems that cannot communicate with one another. We’re helping to solve this problem by encouraging collaboration amongst vendors, clinicians and technology experts,” said Richard Alvarez, Infoway’s president and CEO.

The Physician’s Office of the Future will show what a physician’s office will look like when equipped with leading-edge technology. Vendors who respond to the REOI and join the Collaboratory will have a chance to test their technology solutions in this environment and assess how they work with complementary EHR systems.

This first demonstration series will be held in the fourth quarter of 2005. For more information on the REOI, please visit:

“The Collaboratory is a new concept -- we plan to work with Collaboratory members to help the concept evolve in a way that meets the needs of both vendors and their clients,” said Dennis Giokas, Infoway’s chief technology officer.

With access to the state-of-the-art labs and the sophisticated telecommunications and communications infrastructure of the Centre, the Collaboratory will provide physical and virtual “environments” that recreate real-life settings, such as the physician’s office.

Complete with furnishings, lighting, appropriate noise and space limitations and staffed by trained actors and healthcare professionals, the environments recreate clinical workflow, including interruptions and unforeseen events.

Vendors who participate in the Collaboratory will receive a report detailing the success of their technology along with recommendations for improvement. Clients interested in healthcare technology solutions -– including healthcare regions, hospitals and clinics -- can use the demonstration environment to evaluate vendor products before purchasing them.

The goal is to make the Collaboratory self-sustaining through the delivery of value-added services such as interoperability demonstrations and usability assessments.

This is Infoway’s first investment under its Innovation and Adoption Program, launched last year to support technology innovation and adoption in clinical practice. The program will focus on the use of emerging technologies in clinical practice which add new capabilities to electronic health record solutions, and on initiatives which help overcome adoption barriers for clinicians.

About Canada Health Infoway
Canada Health Infoway’s mission is to accelerate the development of interoperable electronic health information systems across Canada. These systems provide healthcare professionals with rapid access to complete and accurate patient information, enabling better decisions about treatment and diagnosis. The result is a sustainable, more cost-efficient healthcare system offering improved patient safety and better quality of care. Infoway is an independent, not-for-profit corporation whose members are the federal, provincial, and territorial deputy ministers of health. As of March 31, Infoway had approved $320 million for 105 projects in every Canadian province and territory.

About the Centre for Global eHealth Innovation
The Centre for Global eHealth Innovation’s facilities include 15,000 square feet of space located in the heart of Toronto’s technological, academic and commercial core. The lab facilities of the Centre include a state-of-the art Usability Laboratory and a Multi-Tasking Simulation Laboratory exclusively dedicated to the study of eHealth innovations. Labs are equipped with multi-media technologies, testing rooms with observation space, and props and theatre staging sets that simulate virtually any setting where health-related decisions are made (clinics, hospital wards, operating theatres, pharmacies, emergency rooms, homes, workplaces). Using the physical facilities of the Centre and its powerful virtual infrastructure, technology experts, usability professionals, research methodologists, project managers, knowledge management specialists and end users (clinicians, members of the public, policy-makers and administrators) work on diverse projects along with partners and associates from across Canada and around the world, building economies of scale to accelerate the transformation of the health system in the information age.