St. Joseph’s develops diabetes-specific EMR

Dr Tamara SpaicLONDON, Ont. – Diabetes patients of St. Joseph’s Health Care London are benefitting from a new web-based system that allows all those involved in their care to access key medical information anytime, anyplace. Called Web DR (Web-based Diabetes Records), the secure system is a boon to care continuity, effectiveness, efficiency and diabetes research, say experts.

Web DR is a comprehensive, diabetes-specific electronic medical record (EMR). With no existing EMRs available to meet the needs of outpatient diabetes programs, the team at St. Joseph’s Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism successfully combined clinical and research work with technology to develop and implement their own. Over the past two years, the team built the new system from the ground up under the leadership of Dr. Stewart Harris and Dr. Irene Hramiak, and project leads Dr. Tamara Spaic (pictured) and Selam Mequanint.

“It shifts us from paper-based charts to an electronic medical record tailored explicitly for diabetes patients,” explains Dr. Spaic. “It’s also a researchable database that allows us to easily pull information for care as well as research purposes. Most important, it improves integration of care across disciplines. It is simultaneously used by the diabetes specialists, medical trainees, diabetes educators, allied health professionals and administrative staff at three locations of St. Joseph’s.”

Those locations include the Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism Clinic at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Diabetes Education Centre also at St. Joseph’s Hospital, and the Primary Care Diabetes Support Program at St. Joseph’s Family Medical and Dental Centre. All are part of St. Joseph’s Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism. Combined, the clinics see nearly 22,000 patient visits a year.

Web DR is linked with the hospital electronic medical record system, providing multiple interfaces for diabetes care providers to receive patient information and also send completed assessments and clinic notes back to the hospital electronic medical record system, explains Dr. Stewart Harris.

“There is no system like Web DR elsewhere in Canada and particularly innovative is that it doubles as a researchable database.”

At present, 14 physicians and more than 40 aligned healthcare professionals use Web DR for more than 90 percent of patient visits.

The system currently houses more than 15,000 patient records from the various diabetes care programs at St. Joseph’s, with plans to expand its use in London and region.

“There has been a great interest in Web DR across the region,” says Dr. Hramiak. “The next expansion will include the Paediatric Diabetes Clinic at the Children’s Hospital, London Health Sciences Centre. Future plans are to continue to expand to other care providers in the region.”

St. Joseph’s has long been a leader in diabetes care and now another ground-breaking milestone has been reached, says Dr. Spaic. “With the Web DR now fully adopted in clinical practice at St. Joseph’s it’s difficult to imagine not being connected and having information at your fingertips – anytime, anyplace.”

About St. Joseph’s Health Care London
Renowned for compassionate care, St. Joseph’s Health Care London is a leading academic health care centre in Canada dedicated to helping people live to their fullest by minimizing the effects of injury, disease and disability through excellence in care, teaching and research. Through partnership with Lawson Health Research Institute and our collaborative engagement with other health care and academic partners, St. Joseph’s has become an international leader in the areas of: chronic disease management; medical imaging; specialized mental health care; rehabilitation and specialized geriatrics; and surgery. St. Joseph’s operates through a wide range of hospital, clinic and long-term and community based settings, including: St. Joseph’s Hospital; Parkwood Hospital; Mount Hope Centre for Long-Term Care; Regional Mental Health Care London; and the Southwest Centre for Forensic Mental Health Care. For more information, go to

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