This year's Canadian national conference on eHealth eHealth Conference 2007 - Quebec City - 'Paths to Transformation' has had a somewhat different feel to previous years. To me, it has felt somewhat like a coming out event. There has been a significant shift from the theoretical to the practical. A number of presentations described the successful implementation of components of Electronic Health Records in large acute hospitals and regions. Alberta has continued to lead the country in overall adoption of EMR, but there is exciting work taking place in Ontario, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Quebec and Manitoba.
Healthcare IT is moving from the theoretical into the practical.
Based on anecdotal information and plain gut feel, Branham Group Inc., a Canadian market research and strategic planning firm, feels that physician adoption of EMRs is about take off in a significant way in Canada. A recent study suggests a similar situation in the U.S.
About 30 percent of 1,353 U.S. physicians surveyed this year by New York-based Manhattan Research say they are using electronic medical records (EMR), and the total includes not just those physicians in large, multispecialty group practices. “The trend remains, but the gap is closing” among smaller practices, says Manhattan Research president Mark Bard.
One area where health-IT may have turned the corner with physicians is in their interactions with patients. Earlier concern about “cyberchondriacs” bombarding doctors with reams of printouts from consumer-focused health Web sites is waning. Although 34 percent of respondents do not like when patients bring in information from the Internet, a healthy 65 percent approve. Further, 31 percent of physicians say they are communicating with patients via e-mail, compared to 25 percent last year and 24 percent in 2004. “This year’s increase is one of the steepest seen in recent years,” Manhattan Research reports.
As a physician or user of EMR in Canada, do you feel that we are getting closer to wide adoption of EMR? Have you noticed a shift in the thinking of your colleagues or your region? Is EMR higher on the agenda in terms of being in physician's minds these days? To add your thoughts, click on the 'Comments' link.