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Government & policy

N.B. awards contracts for eHealth system

FREDERICTON, N.B. – Health Minister Mike Murphy (pictured) announced that New Brunswick has signed contracts for four major systems to be used at the core of a province-wide eHealth network.

The systems are:

• an Interoperable Electronic Health Record;
• a Client Registry;
• a Provider Registry;
• and a Provincial Diagnostic Imaging Repository.

“These systems are key building blocks along the journey to a complete electronic health record that will ultimately link all patient information from across the healthcare system – from hospitals, from your family doctor, from your local pharmacy and elsewhere,” Murphy said. “With this information, authorized healthcare providers will have access to individuals’ health records to provide them with the care they need, when they need it.”

“The progress we are celebrating today on the e-health front is a major step forward in the modernization of New Brunswick’s healthcare system,” said Richard Alvarez, president and CEO of Canada Health Infoway. “Information is central to quality healthcare. [This] announcement is about making that vital information quickly accessible to clinicians so they can get on with the job of caring for their patients.”

The Interoperable Electronic Health Record is considered a foundation piece for the One Patient One Record (OPOR) system. It will provide the infrastructure and functionality required to link, capture, store and view relevant patient information.

The Client Registry system is essentially the one-patient component of the OPOR system. With this system, each patient will have a unique provincial identifier that will tie together patient information from various clinical systems.

The Provider Registry system will contain information on healthcare providers in the province.

The Provincial Diagnostic Imaging Repository will consolidate a patient’s diagnostic imaging reports and images for procedures such as X-rays, CT scans, ultrasounds and MRIs, into a provincial repository.

Once completed, the diagnostic imaging information will be retained for the life of a patient, will be available province-wide in a standardized format for the use of authorized clinicians, and will be stored in a centralized system with appropriate back-up.

Murphy said that the Department of Health has signed agreements with Initiate Systems Inc. for their Client Registry solution ($1.9 million over two years) and Orion Health for the Interoperable Electronic Health Record and Provider Registry systems ($4 million over three years).

A third contract awarded to xwave for system integration and maintenance services is worth $5.6 million over three years. The contract to create a Diagnostic Imaging Repository has been awarded to Agfa Inc., in the amount of $9 million over two years.

“What we are witnessing now is a new era unfolding for healthcare in our province,” Murphy said. “The implementation of the OPOR system will revitalize our health system by improving access to vital clinical information which will aid in better clinical decision-making, and result in improved care for New Brunswickers.”

The OPOR system will be implemented over a three-year period at a total cost of $35.9 million. New Brunswick has partnered with Canada Health Infoway, which is contributing $18.2 million to the project, with the remaining $17.7 million coming from the province.

In total, it is estimated that New Brunswick needs to invest a quarter of a billion dollars over the next decade in electronic information and computer technology to improve the delivery and management of healthcare in the province.

Canada Health Infoway is a federally funded, not-for-profit organization created to facilitate the development of electronic health information systems across the country. It works with provinces and territories to invest in electronic health projects, which support safer, more efficient healthcare delivery. These private and secure systems fully respect patient confidentiality, and provide healthcare professionals with immediate access to complete and accurate patient information, enabling better decisions about diagnosis and treatment. The result is a sustainable healthcare system offering improved quality, accessibility, productivity and cost savings.