Electronic Health Records Urged for Canada
Electronic health records are being urged in Canada as the country says it wants every citizen to have a single electronic health record that stays with them for life and is accessible to all health professionals.Physicians at one pioneering regional health center say they've used electronic medical records since 1997 and urge a national effort to do the same, the Toronto Globe and Mail reported Friday.
"When we started out we had paper charts and we longed for something more legible, more complete and more accessible, so computerization seemed like the way to go," said Dr. Lewis O'Brien, a family physician with the Group Health Center in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.
Having immediate computer access to medical charts, test results, diagnostic images and prescription drug information saves time, reduces waste and duplication, and improves safety, he says.
"It allows you to deliver patient-centered care," O'Brien said.
Unlike patients of the GHC clinic, most Canadians still do not have electronic medical records, and many health professionals are asking "why not?"
"That's a good question," Richard Alvarez, president and CEO of Canada Health Infoway says. "I would say it's not technology or money that's lacking but a culture of collaboration. Once you have that -- like they do in Sault Ste. Marie -- anything is possible."