Infoway forms team to help docs and
Canada Health Infoway has formed a team of clinician advisors – doctors,
nurses and pharmacists – to communicate the benefits of health
information technology to their respective professional communities and
to provide advice on technology adoption challenges faced by healthcare
“We can only succeed in making electronic health records a reality if
healthcare providers adopt the technology”, said Richard Alvarez, President and CEO, Canada Health Infoway. “Without
their acceptance, our efforts are futile.”
It has been recognized throughout the healthcare system that physicians,
in particular, have been slow to adopt computerized solutions for
clinical purposes. Canadian doctors lag far behind their counterparts in
Europe in this area.
The creation of a clinician team at Infoway is a key part of the
organization’s plans to foster technology adoption by healthcare
professionals and to ensure that electronic health records exist for 50
percent of Canadians by the end of 2009.
The newest clinician advisor on the team is Dr. Claude Poirier from
Quebec. Dr. Poirier was a hospital executive for 14 years and has
participated in a number of initiatives to enhance and modernize
Quebec’s healthcare system. He sits on Quebec’s steering committee for
the introduction of an electronic health record and is coordinator of
the integrated Laval University Health Network in Quebec.
With the addition of Dr. Poirier, Infoway now has four clinicians on its
team, as follows:
• Dr. Robert Burns is a seasoned healthcare executive with broad
experience in the healthcare system including roles in clinical
practice. He has served as CEO of the Alberta Medical Association and as
Registrar for the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta. He also
served on the executive of the Federation of Medical Regulatory
Authorities of Canada and as an Executive Medical Director for the
Vancouver Island Health Authority.
• Dr. Mark Dermer, based in Ottawa, is a general practitioner with
extensive experience in using and promoting electronic medical records
within his practice and within the physician community in Canada. Before
entering medicine, Dr. Dermer worked in the computer industry and has
over 20 years’ experience in matching computer capabilities with user
• Lynn Nagle
(pictured), RN, PhD, has significant healthcare informatics experience
with more than 25 years as a clinician, educator, researcher and
administrator. Previously, Dr. Nagle was Senior Vice-President,
Technology and Knowledge Management, Mount Sinai Hospital, in Toronto.
She is past and founding president of the Canadian Nursing Informatics
Infoway’s Clinician team has seen the benefits and challenges of
electronic health records first-hand and is already playing an active
role in fostering the adoption of EHR in their respective professional
communities. The members of the clinician team have met with national
physician and nurses organizations and have engaged in dialogue with
several of the provincial health organizations across the country on the
challenges and best approaches to end user engagement.
The clinician team works in collaboration with the Infoway Health
Provider Advisory Groups. To date, a Physician and Nurses Advisory Group
have been formed to provide advice to Infoway on the end user engagement
projects. A Pharmacists Advisory Group will be formed in the near
“Electronic records are a win-win-win opportunity for primary care.
Patients, providers and payers all benefit”, says Dermer. “The challenge
for our Infoway clinician team will be to help providers overcome the
barriers of limited time, expertise and funds to make the transition to
electronic systems, so that everyone can enjoy their benefits.”
From a nursing perspective, Nagle explains: “To fully benefit from the
power of this technology, the nursing profession must be an active
partner upfront in its design, introduction and deployment. As well,
preparing the profession to adopt these new technologies requires a
comprehensive approach that includes education, leadership and change
Infoway plans to add a physician from Atlantic Canada and a pharmacist
to its team of clinician advisors in the near future.
About Canada Health Infoway
Infoway is an independent not-for-profit organization that invests with
public sector partners across Canada to implement and reuse compatible
health information systems which support a safer, more efficient
healthcare system. 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, healthcare system offering improved
quality, accessibility and productivity.