B.C. announces plan for online
VICTORIA – British Columbia’s Ministry of Health has posted a Joint
Solutions Request for Proposal to the BC Bid website for a partner to
build, implement and operate a Provincial Laboratory Information
Solution network (PLIS).
The project will see the creation of a network of health records that
will eventually link laboratories, clinics, hospitals, pharmacies and
other places where patients access healthcare.
The lab network will allow care providers to access clinical laboratory
information – results, lab orders and decision support – at the point of
patient care anywhere in B.C.
According to the Ministry, this will increase efficiency, enhance
clinical decision-making and reduce duplication of tests in the
will be one of the major contributors helping to develop the foundation
for electronic health records and the provincial eHealth strategy. Under
the leadership of Health Minister George Abbott (pictured), the province
has launched a 10-year strategic plan to implement an integrated system
of electronic e-health systems.
The eHealth strategy will give patients access to safer, higher-quality
services through the timely availability of their health information;
and will give care providers the correct and necessary information.
The joint solution process combines the capability and creativity of the
public and private sector. A system provider is expected to be selected
by the end of the year, with implementation in late 2006/07 and rollout
One of the investors in B.C.’s eHealth program is Canada Health Infoway,
a federal, non-profit organization with the mandate to accelerate the
development of electronic health information systems across Canada.
The cost and length of the contract for the PLIS project will be part of
negotiations with potential partners. Costs will be shared between the
Province and Canada Health Infoway.
In 2002/03, there were 37 million tests performed in B.C.’s medical labs
– 22 million in the Province’s public laboratories and 15 million in
The aims of the system include:
• Immediate physician access to laboratory results, enabling more timely
and effective clinical decision making.
• Clinician access to historical laboratory test results across the
Province, reducing needless duplication.
• Improved efficiency of laboratory test ordering and results
• Integration of private and health authority public laboratories into
the Provincial Laboratory Information Solution.
• Enhanced continuity and consistency of care between care providers, in
terms of sharing lab results.
• Direct link of the Provincial Public Health Laboratory communicable
disease information into the integrated Public Health Information
A key component for the Province’s eHealth strategy is safeguarding
patient privacy and confidentiality. The contract with the service
provider will comply with the Province’s Freedom of Information and
Protection of Privacy Act. This ensures all patient information is
protected by privacy measures.
In addition, access to patient information will be restricted to those
having a clear right and need to access personal health information or
to access the systems where the information resides.