Primary care IT
CareLink will support patients after
WINNIPEG – A $6-million pilot
project will make innovative use of information technology to connect
Manitobans with primary healthcare after regular clinic hours and
support patients with chronic conditions in managing their own care
needs, Health Minister Theresa Oswald announced.
“This new pilot project will allow us to use new technology to help
Manitobans with non-urgent health concerns get the help they need after
regular clinic hours,” Oswald said. “This initiative will reduce the
number of trips people need to make to their doctor or to emergency
rooms, something that will be especially advantageous in rural and
The new pilot project, called CareLink, will make patients’ journeys
through the healthcare system more seamless, ensuring patients can call
their doctor’s office at any time and get the help they need.
After hours, calls to participating primary-care clinics will be
automatically routed through the award-winning Health Links–Info Santé
provincial call centre to ensure patients can have health concerns
addressed even outside of local clinic hours. The project will ensure
after-hours assistance provided by Health Links–Info Santé is shared
with the patient’s primary physician.
The CareLink project will also focus on patients with chronic diseases,
such as congestive heart failure, using Health Links–Info Santé and
Telehealth videoconferencing to support patients in managing their own
care needs without having to travel to a doctor’s office or hospital.
“This pilot will help patients with chronic conditions manage their own
health with the help of a registered nurse and other supports,” noted
Healthy Living Minister Kerri Irvin Ross. “Patients will get
personalized help over the phone with monitoring important symptoms,
medications and other care needs.”
The CareLink pilot builds on Manitoba eHealth’s current work of
developing an electronic health-record system in the province. Announced
in April 2007, the five-year, $150-million plan to implement electronic
health records (EHR) for every Manitoban is well under way.
The electronic health-record is a secure and private record of key
medical history and care for each Manitoban and will be available across
the province to authorized healthcare providers.
“Manitobans’ medical records will virtually travel with them anywhere in
the province, meaning that healthcare providers will have immediate
access to up-to-date information about patients’ medication histories,
laboratory results and diagnostic images,” Oswald said.
Manitoba’s progress in implementing the electronic health record is
being supported by Canada Health Infoway (Infoway), an independent,
not-for-profit organization funded by the federal government. Infoway
jointly invests with every province and territory to accelerate the
development and adoption of electronic health-record projects in Canada.
Infoway has allocated $56.3 million towards Manitoba’s EHR to date and
is moving towards final approval and $4.5 million in funding support for
the CareLink pilot project.
“Manitoba continues to make terrific progress in its efforts to
modernize the information flow in its health-care system,” said Richard
Alvarez, president and CEO, Canada Health Infoway. “Manitobans are well
on their way toward having their health information move with them
throughout the healthcare system – an important change that will improve
patient care, create efficiencies and save money.”