box10.gif (1299 bytes)







Pharmacy systems

Pharmacy network to be implemented in Newfoundland

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 of 2009.

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, accessibilityand productivity.

About Emergis
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 associations.