IBM Canada wins B.C. contract for
VICTORIA – The Province of British Columbia has
awarded a five-year, $24.7-million contract to IBM Canada to design and
build a system for communicable diseases, and to support the system with
continuing improvements during that timeframe.
All provinces and territories have participated with British Columbia
and Canada Health Infoway in designing the new system. Each province and
territory is planning its implementation strategy for the system that
will be ready to install in 2007.
Once complete, the system will enable public health professionals to log
on to a secure, easy-to-use portal and quickly enter information about
cases, symptoms and outcomes, providing health officials with a timely
and comprehensive view of the state of public health.
Should a serious communicable disease occur, the system will alert
public health officials who will plan and direct actions to protect
“This project is essential in Canada’s preparations for emerging public
health threats,” said Todd Kalyniuk, a partner in IBM Canada’s
healthcare consulting practice. “Canada learned from SARS that having an
effective information system in the hands of front-line workers is key
to early detection and effective management of communicable diseases
like SARS, West Nile Virus, and Avian Flu.”
The system will be built on applications from IBM Canada Business
Partners Scientific Technology Corp., Science Applications International
Corporation (SAIC), Amaranth Consulting Group and Sotern NV, as well as
IBM software products including Websphere, Tivoli and DB2.
Canada Health Infoway, the key investor in this initiative, received
funding from the Government of Canada to plan and coordinate the
development and implementation of the pan-Canadian disease surveillance
and management system. Participating provinces and territories will
cover the remainder of the costs.
“British Columbia was chosen to lead the project with Infoway, on behalf
of the provinces and territories, because of our track record in public
health management,” said B.C. Health Minister George Abbott. “A national
surveillance system will enhance health professionals’ ability to
respond in an emergency and to work more collaboratively with partners
“This system will help healthcare providers, patients and governments
prevent the spread of disease through faster and better identification
of potential epidemic or disease outbreaks wherever they occur in
Canada,” said Richard Alvarez, Infoway’s President and CEO.
“SARS taught us that it was time to invest in a new generation of
surveillance systems to track infectious diseases,” added Federal Health
Minister Tony Clement. “The better our information is, the better
prepared we are. To fully protect the health of Canadians, we must
develop the necessary tools to allow us to coordinate our responses to
emerging disease threats.”
The federal government provided $100 million to Canada Health Infoway to
plan and coordinate development and implementation of the system across
Participating provinces and territories will cover the remainder of the
Patient privacy and confidentiality will be protected to meet all
requirements outlined in federal and jurisdictional health information
privacy legislation. Safeguards will be built into the surveillance
system to protect patient information.