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Government & policy

PEI hospitals and Infoway to develop EHR for Islanders

CHARLOTTETOWN, PEI – Premier Pat Binns (pictured at left), along with Health Minister Chester Gillan, announced that the Department of Health has signed a contract with Cerner Corp. to develop and implement a Clinical Information System, paving the way for the development of an Electronic Health Record (EHR) system on PEI.

The EHR will allow healthcare providers in PEI hospitals and family health centres to have electronic access to a patient’s complete medical record, including information such as medical test results and medication history.

“The development of an electronic health record in PEI builds on the First Minsters’ Health Accord initiatives and signals governments’s ongoing commitment to health care renewal and sustainabililty for Islanders,” said Premier Binns. “This information system will improve patient safety, help decrease wait times for essential services, and assist with the recruitment and retention of healthcare providers.”

“I am extremely pleased about the development of an EHR here on PEI,” says Minister Gillan. “Enabling healthcare providers to have up-to-date client/patient information at their finger tips will certainly help to streamline their work flow and greatly enhance health services for Islanders.”

Islanders will see many benefits from this new electronic information system. It will improve patient safety, help to decrease wait times and assist with the recruitment and retention of healthcare professionals who will be eager to work with this efficient, state-of-the-art system.

Providing healthcare professionals with the ability to access medical records electronically means patients will no longer have to take their charts with them to the hospital. This will also eliminate the need to copy and transfer paper versions of medical records between health facilities, which, in turn, will reduce the risk of error and improve the safety and security of medical records.

The EHR will also help prevent the occurrence of duplicate medical tests, reduce the risk of drug reactions in patients and eliminate the need for patients to repeatedly answer the same series of questions when receiving treatment.

“The ability to electronically access medical records is crucial for healthcare providers as they strive to deliver the highest-quality care to the people of Prince Edward Island,” said Trace Devanny, Cerner’s president. “Together with the Department of Health, we will help to improve the safety, quality, and efficiency of healthcare.”

The EHR project is funded by Canada Health Infoway and six Island hospital foundations including: Queen Elizabeth Hospital Foundation, Prince County Hospital Foundation, Stewart Memorial Hospital Foundation, Eastern Kings Health Foundation Inc., Kings County Memorial Hospital Foundation, and Community Hospital Foundation.

“Canada Health Infoway is pleased to contribute to the EHR for PEI – a shining example of how information technology is underpinning healthcare renewal efforts in Canada,” says Richard Alvarez, President and CEO of Canada Health Infoway. “PEI will be one of the first jurisdictions in Canada to have a complete provincial electronic health record, which will enable improved quality of care.”

Canada Health Infoway is an independent, not-for-profit corporation whose members are the federal, provincial and territorial deputy ministers of health.

“The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) Foundation is pleased to be involved in this Island-wide initiative,” says Paulette Hooley, QEH Foundation Chair. “It certainly has the potential to enhance patient care and service in a similar way that the existing Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) has done, which is the ability to transfer images electronically, enabling better decisions on diagnosis and treatment.”

“The EHR will be an ideal complement to the new Prince County Hospital (PCH) which was designed around state-of-the-art information systems,” says Marian Arsenault, PCH Foundation Chair. “We are very pleased to support this project as it will provide our physicians, nurses and other hospital staff with fast and simple access to information to help care for patients.”

The agreement between Cerner and the PEI Department of Health was signed in June 2005.

With more than 1,500 clients worldwide, Cerner is the leading supplier of healthcare information technology. For more information, see