Government & policy
Manitoba launches $150 million eHealth
Manitoba’s government has announced funding of $150 million for Manitoba
eHealth, a program to implement a province-wide EHR over the next three
to five years. The funds will be committed to projects that have
recently been implemented, are already under way or will be started this
Health Minister Theresa Oswald (pictured)
outlined the goal of ensuring that healthcare providers across Manitoba
have immediate access to a patient’s most up-to-date medical
information, including recent prescriptions or medical treatment
received anywhere, at any time, within the province.
“If someone is hurt or ill and can’t communicate, patients and their
families deserve the comfort and security of knowing that emergency room
staff can access the patient’s medical history quickly and efficiently,”
said Oswald. “It is critical the right information is always available
to the right care providers at the right time.”
Manitoba Health formed Manitoba eHealth in June 2006. The program is
designed to provide strategic coordination and focus on the development
of a province-wide health information and communication technology
“All the systems focus on the needs of doctors and nurses who require
accurate information to offer the best care possible for their
patients,” said Ian Fish, chief information officer of Manitoba eHealth.
“These systems improve the ability of healthcare professionals to
collaborate by providing online, real-time information.”
“Being able to access all information on a patient, no matter when or
where in the province they have been treated, enhances the way doctors
are able to diagnose patients,” said Brian Postl, president and CEO of
the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.
The Manitoba eHealth program will facilitate the creation of a
provincial electronic health record (EHR), a secure and private lifetime
record of a patient’s health history and care within the health system
The program gives healthcare providers information such as test results
as soon as the information is put into the system. Once in the system,
healthcare providers will have access to up-to-date information on
patients whether they live in Winnipeg, Thompson or remote towns and
communities throughout the province. This will help reduce replicated or
redundant tests and contribute to efforts to reduce wait times.
Under the Personal Health Information Act (PHIA), only those healthcare
providers who deal directly with a patient have access to patient
information. This will not change with electronic health records.
Manitoba eHealth’s Primary Data Centre is one of the most secure centres
in the country. Only individuals with valid healthcare roles can access
usernames and passwords needed to enter the system.
“As important as it is for medical staff to have critical and historical
information on all their patients, it is equally important this
information is protected,” said Oswald.
The first phase of the hospital information system project was launched
in mid-April at St. Boniface General Hospital.