CLINICARE, one of Canada's longest standing EMR vendors and EMIS Inc. have announced that they intend to work together in the Canadian marketplace. An excerpt from the press release is published below.
CALGARY and EDMONTON, Alberta, January 30, 2009 – CLINICARE Corporation, and EMIS Inc., the Canadian operation of EMIS Group (Leeds, UK) are pleased to report that they have executed a Memorandum of Understanding regarding the formation of an alliance between their organizations. The alliance will deliver significant benefits to the entire EMR market in Canada and potentially the US combining the knowledge and resources of two leading companies, delivered cost effectively with improved efficiencies.
Welcome to my first blog post on CanadianEMR. My name is Michael Martineau. I have had the pleasure of working with Dr. Brookstone for the past few years and played a small role in helping him transform his CanadianEMR blog into the innovative service that it has become. Recently, I suggested that he devote some space on the site to the emerging "Personal eHealth" (also referred to as "Consumer eHealth") market. I have been tracking this market for several years and feel that we are going to see a significant increase in activity over the next 6 to 24 months. Given my strong interest in "Personal eHealth", Dr. Brookstone offered me the opportunity to create content on this topic for CanadianEMR and I gratefully accepted.
Who am I? I am a 30 year IT industry veteran with considerable Internet and healthcare IT expeirence. I was a founding executive of two Internet Service Providers (ISP) and created an eHealth consulting practice for a Canadian market research firm. I am currently the Chief Operating Officer for a healthcare software vendor specialiing in software for hospital health records departments. I have a regular column in Healthcare Information Management & Communcations Canada magazine and have presented at several conferences on the topic of Personal eHealth.
As I examine and analyze the emerging Personal eHealth market, I have a strong sense of déjà vu. The first ISP that I helped start was at the very forefront of providing general consumer access to the Internet.Even in the early 1990’s, prior to the advent of what we know call the Web, I could see that the Internet was going to have a profound impact on the way that we communicated and conducted business.I get the same feeling when I look at Personal eHealth and it’s potential.
Like the Internet that enables it, Personal eHealth will dramatically change the way that we think about our health and the manner in which we look after it. In my blog posts I plan to show you why I think this way and, hopefully, engage in a dialog that helps us each better understand the potential, the reality, and the pitfalls of Personal eHealth. My goal is to stimulate debate and to generate a better understanding among all parties of how Personal eHealth can be best integrated into our healthcare system.
With details of the Canadian Federal Budget beginning to be released, one piece of news that has a direct impact on Electronic Health Records is the governments' decision to designated $500 Million to expand the use of Electronic Health Records.
According to marketing web site ClickZ, findings from a new Manhattan Research report demonstrate significant interest from doctors in the US to use social networking sites.
By Virginia Citrano, ClickZ, Jan 27, 2009:
Some 60 percent of doctors in the United States use social networking sites for physicians, or are interested in joining them, and they write more prescriptions than medical colleagues who are not active in such sites. These are among the findings in a new report from Manhattan Research, a New York-based pharmaceutical and healthcare market research company.
According to "Taking the Pulse v8.0", which surveyed more than 1,800 doctors nationwide, physicians active in online communities tend to be primary care doctors, female and, perhaps not surprisingly, younger than average. And a statistic that should catch the attention of online video creators: 83 percent of physicians watch online videos, compared with 34 percent of all U.S. adults.
However, what does this mean from a practical and pragmatic perspective? Are physicians going to begin using social network tools such as twitter or the newly launched Canadian Medical Association web site Asklepios? Use of Asklepois has increased since the site launched in August last year and now has about 1,300 members. One of the most active groups on Asklepios is the group relating to EMRs (of which I am a member).
It is not yet clear how physicians will use social networking tools to keep up with their colleagues and practice commitments. At this time, it appears to be more about social support peripheral to the practice of medicine.
What your thoughts? Do you see social networking tools becoming more popular? How will they be used most effectively? Do you belong to any other forms of social networks?
Dr. Ewan Affleck is a friend and colleague who practices in Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories and has done so for more than 15 years. I had an opportunity to speak with Ewan about his experiences regarding an EMR system that has been implemented in Yellowknife and we discussed some of the benefits and challenges of rural and remote medicine.
He has some very interesting insights into the value of Information Technology to remote communities, challenges of recruiting and retaining staff in smaller remote clinics and his experiences using EMRs.
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The US is beginning to wrestle with the 'Elephant in the Room' - Privacy. The announcement last week of $20 Billion in funding to support Healthcare IT has triggered the debate on the importance of privacy and the need to protect medical information. This is a complex issue.
Source: NY Times. By ROBERT PEAR
Published: January 17, 2009
President-elect Barack Obama’s plan to link up doctors and hospitals with new information technology, as part of an ambitious job-creation program, is imperiled by a bitter, seemingly intractable dispute over how to protect the privacy of electronic medical records.
Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff-designate, said it was “essential” to protect personal health information.
Lawmakers, caught in a crossfire of lobbying by the health care industry and consumer groups, have been unable to agree on privacy safeguards that would allow patients to control the use of their medical records.
Congressional leaders plan to provide $20 billion for such technology in an economic stimulus bill whose cost could top $825 billion.
In a speech outlining his economic recovery plan, Mr. Obama said, “We will make the immediate investments necessary to ensure that within five years all of America’s medical records are computerized.” Digital medical records could prevent medical errors, save lives and create hundreds of thousands of jobs, Mr. Obama has said.
“Health information technology will succeed only if privacy is protected,” said Frank C. Torres, director of consumer affairs at Microsoft. “For the president-elect to achieve his vision, he has to protect privacy.”
One of the very exciting areas of information technology that is getting significant support from physicians is Speech Recognition Software. Successful implementation is dependent on the right hardware, software choice, training and microphone.
Speech recognition software can either be integrated into an EMR system or used as a standalone tool for transcription purposes.
Listen the January 2009 Podcast with guest Alexandria Carstens, a Vancouver based speech recognition consultant.
Spiraling costs, shortages of doctors and nurses, a baby boom population about to begin impacting the healthcare system. How do nations deal with such complex health issues and still maintain vibrant economies? Currently the US spends approximately 2 trillion dollars on healthcare (15.3% of GDP in 2006). In 2006, Canada spent 10% of GDP on healthcare. (OECD data) These numbers are staggering by any means and growing at an unprecedented rate. Unabated, this type of growth is unsustainable.
As part of the massive economic stimulus package being assembled by president-elect Obama in the US, an investment in healthcare infrastructure and Electronic Records is considered a key element to improve the efficiency of healthcare delivery. If $50 Billion were to be invested in healthcare IT in the US, what effect would it have on Canada? An immediate thought comes to mind - 'a loud sucking sound from the South'. Where are the skilled people going to come from to assist the US in this process of transformation? Canada, already short of professionals with knowledge and skills in healthcare technology and systems is likely to be one source with talented people being attracted to the US opportunities. However, we have not been resting on our laurels. We just need to speed things up, develop a more pragmatic approach, do away with some of the red-tape and unnecessary bureaucracy and get technology in the hands of the care-givers who are needed to support our burgeoning healthcare system.
Canada Health Infoway has received $1.6 Billion in funding (although not much recently) and in comparison to the intended spend in the US, we stand to fall way behind if we do not sustain the momentum (and further build upon it). I hope that our politicians have both the foresight and the fortitude to make sure we do not end up being left behind as the US speeds ahead. And we sorely need uptake of technology (EMRs and EHRs) by our thousands of physicians who still function in a primarily paper-based world.
Based on some promising new analysis of the 2007 National Physician Survey data, there appears to be a significant benefit to adopting EMRs... if it is done right.
In October 2008, in conjunction with Greig Pothan through the Sauder School of Business and with the support of a funding grant from the National Research Council (NRC) and MITACS (Mathematics of Information Technology and Complex systems) we completed a review of the 2007 National Physician Survey data with the intention of answering the following questions:
Is there a relationship between use of EMRs and Wait Times?
Is there a relationship between use of EMRs and ability to accept new patients in primary care?
Is there a relationship between GP practices that use EMR alone and those that use EMR plus paper (mixed) in terms of system efficiency/throughput?
However, there is an important proviso. In every instance in which we looked at the data, the practices that did not use the EMR for the majority of patient care (we called these hybrid practices), productivity or capacity was less than the paper setting. This should come as no surprise.
The bottom line message is this. If we are going to invest in EMRs for physicians (and we are already doing so extensively in Ontario, BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Nova Scotia), we need to do it properly. Physicians are busy professionals. Change support and education are critical pieces of successful adoption. Its not just about the technology.
If we do it right, our results suggest the following in practices that use EMR instead of paper: (Note: These are estimates that need to be confirmed)
The reduction in wait-times for urgent referrals in GP and more specifically Specialist practices could be as high as 27%;
The ability for GPs with partially closed practices to accept new patients was 29% greater in EMR practices vs. paper;
The ability for GPs with EMR practices to see more patients was approximately 11% greater than those with purely paper records.
Based on this preliminary research, there is strong evidence that EMRs are not just good for physicians and patients, they are good for the system too. However, should we under-invest and not support our users to become successful adopters of technology, the risk we face is significant from a care perspective and in terms of system capacity and productivity.
We need a healthy EMR industry in Canada and well supported clinicians. $50 Billion is weighing heavily on my mind, not because of the benefit it can create in the US, but because of the risk to our citizens and our limited human resources should we slow down now.
Prime Minister Harper, I hope you are listening. There is no turning back now, however we need a journey well planned. The benefits are significant.
To add your thoughts or comments, click on the 'Comments' link below.
The verdict is in: Smartphone technology is on the rise amongst physicians. Those who had previously adopted PDAs are finding it a small step up to a Smartphone with greater functionality and a decent display for text, video and image files. Expect to see many more Smartphone healthcare applications in the coming years. The following article published January 5, 2009 in American Medical News highlights this phenomenon. While the article speaks to adoption by American physicians, similar changes are taking place in Canada.
'According to New York firm Manhattan Research, doctors are adopting mobile technology more quickly than is the general public. The group published a report in September 2008 saying 54% of U.S. physicians own a PDA or smartphone. Separate research by Dallas-based Diffusion Group predicts that by 2011, 70% of physicians will own a smartphone or PDA.
That compares with only about 20% of physicians who have adopted electronic medical record systems, though there's hope that increased smartphone use will raise that number. Already, developers are creating EMRs that operate from a cell phone.