PEI to launch EMR across the province
December 2, 2020
CHARLOTTETOWN, PEI – Prince Edward Island is just weeks away from announcing a new electronic medical system for doctors, providing connectivity among physician practices and with hospitals. According to media reports, the provincial government had hoped for a fully functioning system by now, but was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
A report by CBC news stated that the island has dedicated $7.5 million to the new system, which will take another 16 months to get up and running.
“There was somewhat of a delay due to COVID. The vendor that we’re actually negotiating with right now, there were some issues with regards to having technicians travel because of travel restrictions,” said Health Minister James Aylward (pictured).
“We already have a team in place, an implementation team … we’ll then start rolling out the EMR to collaborative practices first. We’re going to put a call out as well, through the Medical Society of P.E.I., to ensure that the physicians that are out there are lining up to have it implemented.”
Some Island doctors already have a standalone electronic medical record system. But many are faxing reports to each other and hospitals as the systems often lack compatibility. The new solution is designed to overcome this problem.
What government considers the foundation of the electronic health record system was completed in 2011 – a clinical information system linking Island hospitals and allowing them to exchange information in real time.
The piece that’s missing is the connection to the offices of primary care providers like family doctors and nurse practitioners.
The province says the rollout will start in Charlottetown and Summerside in late January 2021. But the program will not be fully implemented until March 2022.
For its part, the Medical Society of P.E.I. said it is working closely with the province on the rollout of electronic medical records.
“We are supporting the Department of Health and Wellness by helping to keep physicians informed on the project’s status, and yes, eventually we will be helping to promote the availability of the solution to physicians who wish to adopt,” the society said.
Aylward said the province has budgeted $7.5 million but the health minister said there will be additional costs as the project rolls out.
As well, Aylward said he realizes not all doctors will sign up to take part in the program. But he said for new doctors coming into the province, electronic medical records are critical because they already use them as part of their training.
“I know, personally, myself, there are some physicians that probably aren’t going to take it up because they are closer to retirement age,” said Aylward.
“It’s not mandatory but it is highly anticipated and I know that once physicians start to see how excellent it works, they’ll want to participate in it.”