Government & policy
Quebec to speed up development of EMRs
QUEBEC CITY –
Quebec has announced a $547 million plan to create a province-wide
system of electronic medical records by the year 2011.
The system is expected to improve the delivery of healthcare by
providing physicians with faster access to more extensive and accurate
information about the patients they are treating.
According to reports in the Montreal Gazette newspaper, and from the CBC
news services, the federal government will provide $303 million of
financing, with Quebec paying the remaining $244 million.
Health Minister Philippe Couillard (pictured above),
a neurosurgeon before entering politics, said the new system
will include information about medication histories, lab test results,
diagnostic imaging, allergies, and the names of doctors, pharmacists and
other health professionals who have treated a patient.
Using teleradiology, a physician in Montreal would be able interpret the
test results of a patient in the Gaspe or other remote regions.
Couillard said it will be beneficial to have the whole medical record
together to avoid prescribing conflicting medications, which can result
in hospitalization. The digital system also will avoid duplicating
The previous Parti Quebecois government considered a system using
“smart” cards, with an imbedded computer chip containing medical
Couillard said the government has decided it won’t go that way, and
unlike the PQ proposal, which called for one central database, the
Liberal government will not create one database, but instead will
establish regional databases.
Building the digital health network will result in an estimated $375
million in contracts for Quebec companies, creating 6,300 jobs.