The consolidation of Canada’s EMR market continues, as Nightingale’s shareholders officially approved the terms of acquisition by Telus Health at the end of August 2016. What does this mean for Nightingale’s EMR users? In this Q&A conducted before the deal was approved, Paul Lepage, president of Telus Health, shared some of the details about the deal’s impact and Telus’ strategy going forward.
Q: What does the Nightingale acquisition mean for Telus?
A: With that acquisition we’d be adding another close to 5,000 customers, mainly in Ontario and the Atlantic provinces. With that, it’ll strengthen our position in those provinces and we’ll get to about 20,000 physicians across Canada. The Nightingale team will join our ranks and bring their skills, expertise, and the technology assets to our existing EMR platform.
Q: Telus has acquired a half dozen EMR companies in recent years, which are running in parallel. What are the plans to create a unified Telus system?
A: A lot of our strategy on unification is through our initiatives around the mobile EMR. What we’ve done is we’ve created a single mobile EMR experience across all of the various platforms. We’re enabling our existing physicians on the mobile EMR and we’re seeing the adoption of the mobile EMR. That mobile EMR experience is the same across all platforms. If you’re sitting on the PS Suite platform or you’re sitting on the KinLogix platform, it’s the same mobile EMR experience. Our intention there is to drive more and more capabilities in the mobile EMR platform so a physician can view more and more of a patient encounter on that platform.
Q: So there can be people who have PS Suite, for example, on their PCs in the office, but on their phones, they’ll have Telus’s mobile EMR, is that it?
A: Mobile EMR, which connects to their PS Suite so that they can actually look at patient information. They can take a picture of a mole, follow a patient who has acne and follow the evolution of acne over multiple visits. Take pictures and send that information, which will go straight into their EMR. What we’re doing is we’re building up the capabilities, so that more and more of that patient encounter can be handled on the mobile device. Over time, we’re standardizing more and more of that experience.
A lot of that is the key functionality that we’re enabling in the physician in-box. Through that physician in-box, where they’re basically looking at the tasks that they’re doing during the day, we’re looking at how we standardize some of those components across our various platforms.
Q: How does Telus’ common in-box work across mobile and legacy platforms?
A: The notion here is that when you think about what a physician has to do during the day, a lot of those things are driven by information that appears in their in-box. That’s where the link is between the EMR and a lot of the shared services that we’re building out. Think of a scenario where I’m asked to do a renewal of a prescription. If I’ve automated that shared service of renewal of a prescription, that renewal request would appear in my in-box. There’s more and more elements, as we look at encounters that are going to take place, they’re going to take place in that in-box. The physician is going to be driving his workday and some of the activities on what’s in the in-box.
Q: Will one unified platform emerge in the near future?
A: We are moving towards the unification of the platform, but at the speed at which we have physician adoption of these new components. We want to go at the rate that is good for the physician, so that’s our focus in this, and that’s why we started with components that we think are important for the physician. So mobile EMR, common in-box, and not changing things that at this point the physicians see a lot of value with. The reality is the physicians have a high level of attachment to their various EMR solutions. The churn on the various EMR platforms is very, very low.