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Electronic medical records

N.S. completes EMR implementation in 34 hospitals

HALIFAX – Nova Scotia’s hospital information system has now been implemented in 34 hospitals across eight district health authorities, making it easier for healthcare workers to access information critical to their patients’ care. To date, more than one million patients are on file.

Health Minister Chris d’Entremont announced that the linking of the eight districts completes one of the most detailed hospital information system implementations in Canada.

“This system provides doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers with quick, accurate, and appropriate access to vital health information,” said Mr. d’Entremont. “This has improved patient care and will also help us to better monitor, adjust and plan health services so they are not only effective but are sustainable over the long term.”

Implementation of the information system in the eight health districts was initiated by the provincial government in March 2001. The total cost of the project was $55.7 million.

The completion of this project marks an important step towards creation of an electronic health record for every Nova Scotian and will help ensure that 7,000 doctors, nurses and other medical staff have the information and tools they need to provide the best care possible.

Prior to this project, more than 70 percent of the province’s healthcare facilities did not have the proper information systems in place to address patient care challenges. Today, these same facilities have implemented systems and standards that will be linked with existing systems in the Capital District Health Authority and the IWK Health Centre to improve patient care for Nova Scotians.

“This was a unique project,” said John Malcom, CEO of the Cape Breton District Health Authority. “The successful implementation gives our healthcare professionals a strong information base from which they can make the most appropriate decisions for their patients. Easy access to this level of patient information is helping to improve the quality of care and patient safety.”

The hospital information system has reduced the need for patients to repeat the same medical history over and over again. Wait times for test results and X-rays have decreased, as have the number of duplicated tests and procedures. The system also provides better information about the quality and access to services, and has provided improvements in planning for patient services and programs. For example, waiting time data can now be tracked more accurately.

“This system is an investment that will enable us to manage our healthcare system more effectively, now and in the future,” said Mr. d’Entremont. “I want to especially congratulate the healthcare providers and team members on a successful implementation.”

The hospital information system is a critical component of Nova Scotia’s comprehensive health information management strategy, which includes electronic health records.