PEI moves ahead on the “medical home”
July 19, 2023
CHARLOTTETOWN, PEI – Officials say 90 per cent of family practitioners in PEI are now using an electronic patient record system to some degree, and 80 percent have been using the system for more than nine months. A recent survey showed that about 70 percent said it made their workflow more efficient, and they’re able to better co-ordinate patient care.
There are now 176 community health providers, doctors or nurse practitioners along with their allied health professionals, on the system. That represents almost all of the family doctors on P.E.I.
Officials say P.E.I. had been behind the rest of the country on electronic medical record access, but has since surpassed much of the country. Dr. Michael Gardam (pictured), Health PEI CEO, said this is now the only province with a province-wide EMR system, which lets practitioners across the Island share information.
“P.E.I. could be Canada’s healthcare petri dish, and this is an example where we’ve gotten there,” Gardam said.
Indeed, PEI has moved ahead of most other jurisdictions on implementing “medical homes”, which integrate different types of care-providers and give patients faster access to the help they need.
The health professionals work closely together, sharing patient information efficiently and comprehensively. Medical homes are also enabling the province to serve more patients with fewer MDs.
“The doctor is part of the team, but they’re not everything,” said Gardam. “Many visits don’t need to be held with a doctor. You may be seeing a physio or a nurse practitioner, or whomever, and all those people are sharing your care, so they all need to access that record.”
Twelve patient medical homes have been set up so far.
The system allows physicians to share information like prescription records and patient history, plus sends out automated appointment reminders and pre-visit questionnaires.
Officials say there is some work left to do, like moving the remaining 10 percent of physician clinics to the system and tweaking the system over time according to the needs of the program’s users.
A patient portal is expected to be rolled out in the coming months, allowing patients to access their own lab results, X-rays and medical information.