Doctors Nova Scotia worried about EMR procurement
December 19, 2018
HALIFAX – Nova Scotia’s doctors say the province hasn’t tapped into their knowledge in the search for a vendor for a One Person One Record system, even though they will be important users of the system and have deep expertise about electronic records.
“This could change the way we deliver healthcare in Nova Scotia,” said Dr. Tim Holland (pictured), president of Doctors Nova Scotia. “There’s a number of physicians who are on our IT (information technology) steering committee who are just amazingly knowledgeable about this technology and innovations,” Dr. Holland told the Chronicle-Herald news service.
“I’m saddened that DNS wasn’t more involved in the OPOR selection process to date, however I’m hopeful that government will recognize the value that DNS can bring to the process as we move OPOR forward in the development and implementation stages.”
Two companies, Cerner and Allscripts have been shortlisted in the search for vendors of the OPOR system.
However, a spokeswoman for the provincial Health Department rejected the notion doctors haven’t been involved in the OPOR contract process.
“Doctors have been heavily involved in the selection of the provider,” said Tracy Barron in an email. “There were 49 doctors who helped evaluate. These doctors had appropriate expertise, were from both rural and urban areas and represented both the Nova Scotia Health Authority and the IWK.
“Doctors Nova Scotia has received two presentations on OPOR in the last 18 months. Government has also committed to keeping DNS informed in the process moving forward through things like communication and evaluations.”
Holland said the OPOR overhaul could be one of the most important investments in healthcare in Nova Scotia in a generation.
“If we can get an integrated electronic health record that can act as a single repository for healthcare across all of Nova Scotia, that could change healthcare delivery,” said Holland, a family doctor and emergency medicine specialist in Truro.
As a relatively young doctor (he graduated from medical school in 2011), Holland said electronic records have been a part of his professional life from the get-go – he uses an electronic medical record system in his office called Nightingale, which is one of three EMR systems offered by Telus recommended by Doctors Nova Scotia.
The Loblaw food and pharmacy chain also offers an EMR system called AccuroEMR.
These office-based EMR systems can be connected to the various electronic health record networks that are used in Nova Scotia. It’s not yet clear how that will play out under the One Patient One Record scenario but Holland said a consistent province-wide health record system could be a game-changer.
“It could make communication between providers so much more efficient, patients could get more expedient care and we’d be able to monitor data infomatics across the healthcare system in a way that would allow us to respond with up to date research and tailor-made solutions to Nova Scotians’ healthcare system.”
On the other hand, if the final choice of a system and its implementation don’t work out, there’s also the potential for disaster, Holland said.