Pharmacy network to be implemented in
ST. JOHN’S, Nfld. – Health and Community Services
Minister Tom Osborne announced in June that the Newfoundland and
Labrador Centre for Health Information (NLCHI) will begin implementation
of a Provincial Pharmacy Network.
The Minister was joined by William (Bill) Fanning, Chair of the Board of
Management of the Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Health
Information; Richard Alvarez, President and Chief Executive Officer of
Canada Health Infoway; and François Côté of Emergis Inc.
The Newfoundland and Labrador Pharmacy Network is a provincial drug
information system that will offer province-wide, on-line, real-time
medication profiles, as well as comprehensive drug information and an
interactive database to assist pharmacists and physicians in identifying
potential adverse drug interactions and events.
“Government is fully committed to the establishment of an electronic
health record system for the province and the Pharmacy Network is the
next critical phase in this project,” said Minister Osborne. “Once
implemented, the Newfoundland and Labrador Pharmacy Network will result
in improved medication dispensing, improved tools for counseling on the
use of medication, reduction of medication errors and a decrease in
hospitalization due to adverse drug events. Ultimately, the Pharmacy
Network will result in enhanced quality of care and improved patient
safety for the residents of Newfoundland and Labrador.”
NLCHI issued a Request for Proposals in 2005 for the acquisition of
products and services required for the development of the Newfoundland
and Labrador Pharmacy Network. Emergis was the successful vendor and
will work with NLCHI to implement a provide-wide pharmacy network. The
cost of the project over four years is $25 million; Canada Health
Infoway, Inc. has committed $17 million in funding, and the Department
of Health and Community Services will provide $8 million.
For its part, Emergis has been contracted by NLCHI to build the Pharmacy
Network solution and support change management initiatives. “We will
bring to the Pharmacy Network the knowledge and experience we have
gained from over 20 years experience in processing drug-related data
andour strong relationship with community pharmacies in the province,”
saidFrançois Côté, President and Chief Executive Officer of Emergis.
Emergis’ partners in this project are Systems Xcellence Inc.,Courtyard
Group Ltd. and zedIT Solutions Inc. of St. John’s.
“This initiative shows how health information technology can make our
healthcare system better, safer and more efficient,” said Mr. Alvarez.
“Newfoundland and Labrador is making solid progress on the road to
developing electronic health records for the benefit of patients and
providers,” he added. Infoway’s goal is to make electronic health
records available for 50 percent of the Canadian population by the end
NLCHI has been tasked with implementing one of the largest and most
complex information technology projects ever undertaken in the province.
A significant planning and due diligence process has taken place over
the past few years to verify that the Pharmacy Network will enhance the
quality of care and improve patient safety in this province. This has
included consultations with over 800 stakeholders to assess the health
benefits of the Pharmacy Network and to determine the features of the
provincial drug information system that are of the greatest interest to
healthcare providers and patients.
Stakeholders involved in the consultation process included the Regional
Integrated Health Authorities, the Pharmacists Association of
Newfoundland and Labrador, The College of Physicians and Surgeons of
Newfoundland and Labrador, the Association of Registered Nurses of
Newfoundland and Labrador, the Canadian Association of Chain Drug
Stores, The Newfoundland and Labrador Pharmacy Board and the
Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association.
“Both healthcare providers and consumer health groups have advised NLCHI
on its design for protecting the privacy of each person’s personal
information,” said Mr. Fanning. “There are significant technological
features to ensure only authorized healthcare providers have access to
the Pharmacy Network, and more importantly, patients will have the
option to request that their medication information be masked, so no
one, except in emergency situations, will be able to access their
information unless authorized.”
The majority of activities associated with the Pharmacy Network project
will occur in the first three years of the project. Phase I of the
project will include the integration of the province’s approximately 180
retail pharmacies and provide a viewer into the emergency departments of
hospitals; Phase II will include integration with hospital pharmacy
systems; and Phase III will provide electronic prescribing capabilities
to physicians and other prescribers.
About the Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Health Information (NLCHI)
The Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Health Information was
established by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to provide
quality information to health professionals, the public, and health
system decision-makers. Through collaboration with the health system,
NLCHI supports the development of standards and maintains key health
databases, prepares and distributes health reports, and supports and
carries out applied health research and evaluations. NLCHI’s mandate
also includes the development of a confidential and secure Health
Information Network that will serve as the foundation for the provincial
Electronic Health Record.
About Canada Health Infoway (Infoway)
Infoway is an independent not-for-profit organization that invests
withpublic sector partners across Canada to implement and reuse
compatiblehealth information systems which support a safer, more
efficienthealthcare system. These systems provide healthcare
professionals withrapid access to complete and accurate patient
information, enablingbetter decisions about treatment and diagnosis. The
result is asustainable, healthcare system offering improved quality,
Emergis is based in Quebec is an IT leader in Canada that focuses on
thehealth and financial services sectors. It develops and manages
solutionsthat automate transactions and the exchange of information to
increasethe process efficiency and quality of service of its customers.
Emergishas expertise in electronic health-related claims processing,
healthrecord systems, pharmacy management solutions, cash management and
loandocument processing and registration. In Canada, it delivers
itssolutions to the main insurance companies, top financial
institutions,government agencies, large corporations, real estate
lawyers andnotaries, and approximately 40% of all pharmacies. It also
processes andenables transactions for the world’s leading payment