Quebec selects Epic for provincial records system
September 6, 2023
QUEBEC CITY – The province of Quebec has chosen Wisconsin-based Epic Systems Corporation to build infrastructure for the health network’s digital transition. Health Minister Christian Dubé (pictured) revealed this information last week during an exchange with Liberal MNA Michelle Setlakwe as part of the detailed study of Bill 15 on health network reform.
“The contracting process is underway right now,” he said before adding that “it’s about to be finalized.”
“For reasons of implementation, language, etc., we chose Epic,” the minister said.
Asked for further details by The Canadian Press, Dubé’s office indicated that an announcement would be later by way of a press release.
In a written statement attributed to Minister Dubé, he said he was “very pleased” with the development, which marks “a major step forward in fulfilling our commitments and in our efforts to make the healthcare system more efficient.”
A second U.S.-owned company, Cerner Canada ULC, now part of Oracle, was also in the running. Both firms were selected following a first-round invitational call for proposals, to which six potential suppliers responded.
According to Dubé, the ministry is currently carrying out the necessary checks to ensure Epic Systems Corporation can deliver a technological solution equal to what it presented in its bid.
“When you sign contracts, you want to make sure they’re going to deliver the goods,” he said, adding that the ministry’s IT managers had conducted rigorous evaluations.
According to the timetable outlined by the parliamentary commission, pilot projects could begin within the next few weeks at the Centres intégrés universitaires de santé et de services sociaux (CIUSSS) de la Mauricie-et-du-Centre-du-Québec and Nord-de-l’île-de-Montréal.
Dubé wants these two establishments to be operational within the new digital infrastructure by 2025 at the latest. Then, the entire healthcare network will be progressively integrated into the digital health record within five years.
Quebec estimates a price tag of up to $3 billion.
The hope is that the new system will make it easier for healthcare workers to access patients’ medical information and considerably reduce the volume of paperwork and bureaucratic tasks across the network.
During his discussion with MNA Michelle Setlakwe, Dubé opened up more about his plan to implement the new tech system.
Drawing on his experience in the private sector, he said it’s important to involve a third player to “accompany” the process.
This additional step could slightly delay the start of the project, as a new call for tenders will be required.
“It’s such a big project that we want to have someone to help us,” he said. “We want to have an external advisor who is used to this kind of implementation, to follow it through.”
Quebec also intends to involve medical archivists and other professionals in the field who have a thorough understanding of current health information collection practices.