Telus to invest $100 million in
TORONTO – Telus
announced that it will make capital investments in the healthcare
segment of $100 million over the next three years. At the same time, the
company launched its new brand, Telus Health Solutions.
“Many Canadians understand and support the need for technology in the
Canadian healthcare system,” said Joe Natale, president, Telus Business
Solutions. “The transformation of healthcare in Canada is a huge
undertaking that will take many hands.
“As a sign of our commitment,” said Natale, “we are announcing our plans
to invest $100 million in developing Telus Health Solutions over the
next three years. We are very serious about making a difference in
Canadian healthcare with applications and technology infrastructure that
collects, processes, stores, and delivers health information.”
Photo above: TELUS’ Joe Natale (l), president, Business
Solutions and François Côté (centre), president, TELUS Health
Solutions announce a $100 million investment in the healthcare sector
with industry leaders Dr. Alan Brookstone (r), Sam Marafioti (second r),
CIO, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Jean Huot (centre r),
CIO, McGill University Health Centre, and Wayne Gudbranson (centre l),
CEO Branham Group. photo credit Tobin Grimshaw.
Francois Côté, president, Telus Health Solutions, said, “There is no
question eHealth is creating a new era in Canadian healthcare. Today,
patient information is scattered across a myriad of different electronic
and paper-based systems, resulting in decisions being made without a
complete picture of a patient’s history.
“We need to enable richer and more effective collaboration between the
stakeholders of the health system in Canada,” he added. “Everyone
focused on delivering care: providers, insurers, government, employers
and individual Canadians themselves, will benefit from advances in
Côté said Telus Health Solutions will focus on:
• improving health outcomes
• increasing capacity and capabilities in the healthcare system
• preventive health solutions.
Asked whether Telus’ $100 million worth of investments will be made
in-house on R&D, or in joint projects with healthcare partners, the
Telus executives answered that it will be a mixture of the two. “We like
to take our innovation to the healthcare sites, where it becomes a
structured learning laboratory,” said Natale.
“You need feedback from clinicians,” said Côté. He added that, “We’ll
also partner with other companies, so there will be an innovation
Both Natale and Côté stressed the time is ripe for the emergence of
patient health records (PHRs), in which patients are in control of their
electronic records. “We’re in a facility-centric era,” said Côté, “but
we’re starting to move into a consumer-centric era. That will have a
fundamental impact, as citizens want to manage their health.”
They made the announcement at a press event in Toronto, with major
healthcare customers at the table – Sam Marafioti, VP and CIO of the
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, based in Toronto, and Jean Huot, CIO
of both the McGill University Health Centre and the Centre hospitalier
de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM).
All three healthcare institutions are users of Telus’ Oacis electronic
health record. Both Marafioti and Huot are backers of the Personal
Health Record – Huot stating that his institutions will start developing
a solution, while Marafioti noted that Sunnybrook has pioneered a PHR
called Sunnybrook MyChart, a web-based solution that gives Sunnybrook patients access to their hospital-generated records.
Dr. Alan Brookstone, a physician and founder of the
www.canadianemr.com web site,
which provides analysis and discussion of issues surrounding the
electronic health record, hailed the concept of the personal health
record. But he struck a realistic note, stating that only 20% to 25% of
primary care physicians and specialists currently make use of an
electronic record, thus making it difficult to move key patient
information into personal health record repositories.
He said, however, that if electronic medical record systems were
improved, physicians would be more eager to adopt them. It’s a
misconception to think physicians are against technology, said Dr.
Brookstone. But technology must be integrated into their workflow
without disrupting the way they practice medicine.
At the same time, there are electronic solutions that would greatly
improve the quality of care given to patients, solutions that don’t
require a full-blown electronic medical record. These include electronic
referrals to specialists and electronic prescribing, which would reduce
the incidence of prescribing errors.
Wayne Gudbranson, president and CEO of Branham Group, a consultancy in
Ottawa, stated at the event that Canada now spends $146 billion per year
on healthcare. Outcomes could be improved through the use of personal
health record systems, he said. “The PHR is the ultimate goal. It will
allow us to take responsibility for our own health.”
The announcements were made with news from an Ipsos Reid/ Telus survey
that reveals the majority of Canadians are still using paper to track
their lifetime medical history. In an era of unprecedented technology
advances, 55 per cent of Canadians are tracking their medical history on
paper, one third electronically and one in four tracks it by memory.
The survey also reveals that the majority of Canadians agree that better
health outcomes can be achieved when healthcare professionals have
access to information through technology.
More than 90 per cent of those surveyed agreed that efficiencies in the
system could be created through additional exchange of information
amongst care givers and medical professionals; 93 per cent of Canadians
surveyed said medical errors can be prevented by improving collaboration
between medical professionals using technology.
Telus is a leading national telecommunications company in Canada, with
$9.5 billion of annual revenue and 11.5 million customer connections
including 6 million wireless subscribers, 4.3 million wireline network
access lines and 1.2 million Internet subscribers. TELUS provides a wide
range of communications products and services including data, Internet
protocol (IP), voice, entertainment and video. In support of our
philosophy to give where we live, TELUS, our team members and retirees
have contributed $113 million to charitable and not-for-profit
organizations and volunteered more than 2.1 million hours of service to
local communities since 2000. Nine TELUS Community Boards across Canada
lead our local philanthropic initiatives. For more information about
TELUS, please visit www.telus.com.