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Nova Scotia to create unified EHR system

electronic recordsHALIFAX – Nova Scotia announced that it will implement a new, province-wide electronic medical information system called One Person, One Record. The province would like to operate just one health information system that gives providers the patient information they need, instead of the myriad of fragmented systems they must access today.

The Health and Wellness Department has issued a request for proposals for a project team leader and members to start planning a single system and select a supplier.

“(The department’s) vision is of a single integrated clinical information system that will support (district health authority) consolidation and improved care delivery, a system where both health system leadership and clinicians have a single source of information across the province for health system use and direct patient care,” say documents that are part of the tender.

The province is merging nine district health authorities. By April 1, there will be one health authority and the IWK Health Centre in Halifax.

However, health information systems in the province are “becoming increasingly fragmented and costly to maintain,” the documents say.

Nova Scotia uses three hospital information systems: one for eight district health authorities, one for the IWK and another for Capital Health.

“The cost and complexity of maintaining these three hospital information systems, all providing the same functionality, and almost 200 additional clinical applications is growing beyond what we can sustain in a province the size of Nova Scotia,” the documents say.

The government recently put on hold two health information system initiatives: computerized physician order entry (CPOE), a system to electronically request and document patient treatments, with a price tag of $7.2 million, and a province-wide emergency department information system estimated to cost $8.3 million, according to the documents.

“If implemented in the current environment, these systems would have to connect to the three existing hospital information systems, many other clinical information systems and to each other.

“These two initiatives were placed on hold because they could be implemented and sustained at a much lower cost as part of a single integrated clinical information system.”

The budget for the proposed planning project is not to exceed $1.25 million, and is expected to be completed in eight to 12 months.

At its completion, “the team will have identified and negotiated a contract for a solution that will benefit Nova Scotia for many years,” the documents say.

Those working on planning cannot submit a bid or be associated with any vendor to bid on the contract to provide the health information system. The tender closes March 23.

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