Electronic health records
Pilot launched for Quebec’s provincial
QUEBEC CITY – The
province of Quebec has officially started its $560 million Dossier de
santé électronique project, an electronic health record network that will allow
95,000 doctors, nurses and allied healthcare professionals to access the
medical charts of their patients using a single viewing system.
The project kicked-off in May with a pilot system at a clinic in Quebec
City and will roll out across the province over the next three years.
“It’s the first time in Quebec that we’ll have a complete, longitudinal
view of the patient’s medical history,” commented Dr. Guy Bisson
(pictured), senior clinical advisor to the Dossier’s project director,
and a former professor of medicine at the University of Sherbrooke.
Dr. Bisson is now medical lead for xwave, which won the contract as
systems integrator and project leader of Quebec’s Dossier.
Dr. Bisson explained that the Dossier de santé électronique du Québec (DSQ) project
intends to integrate existing sources of data – initially from labs,
pharmacies and the provincial drug plan, and diagnostic labs – making
the records available to authorized care-givers through a web-based
It’s a huge integration project, and one that involves many
first-of-its-kind technologies and approaches.
“This project is a milestone for Canada, as Quebec will be the first to
implement the Infoway architectural blueprint on a large scale,”
commented Gary Folker, managing director, business development, at xwave's
healthcare division. “It’s also the first
provincial project to use HL7 v3 messaging,” he added, referring to the
leading-edge standard for communicating health data files.
For its part, Xwave stands to earn $111 million as the systems
integrator and project manager. Its partners include Orion Health, which is
supplying the viewer software for the system; Oracle, whose Healthcare
Transaction Base (HTB) will be used for the first time in Canada in
a large-scale project; and Bell Canada, which is providing
infrastructure management and training.
Dr. Bisson noted that Quebec has a unique legal environment that
requires the provincial health-record system to be created in a way
that’s different from other jurisdictions in Canada.
“In Quebec, you need explicit consent of the patient to share
information electronically,” he said.
As well, the data itself must be stored locally in one of 18 regions
across the province. For that reason, the Dossier project is building 18
different repositories – information from various sources will be
uploaded into these repositories on an ongoing basis. For example,
information from 126 labs across the province will flow into the
appropriate regional repository.
Nadeem Ahmed, xwave’s managing director of healthcare, said the Quebec
project is likely the most complex provincial system to be launched in
Canada. “It’s complex not only in terms of size, but also because of the
special legal environment, the differing languages, and the challenges
of integrating a diverse infrastructure.”