Where are we in Canada with respect to EMR adoption and use? This was the theme of a recent edition of Healthcare Information Management and Communications Canada (the official journal of COACH and ITAC Health)
In the lead editorial, Dr. Jeff Turnbull, President of the Canadian Medical Association states:
"It is the CMA’s view that future HIT investments need to be directly tied to achieving specific goals....The proposed investments are built around accomplishing 3 interim goals:
- Significant adoption of EMRs by primary care and specialist physicians in ambulatory settings;
- Accelerating the exchange of health information to support the majority of health care transactions; and
- Increasing the effective use of EMRs and related solutions to meet pressing health and system issues."
In an article by Dr. Mark Dermer entitled, Electronic Medical Records Adoption in Community Practice: Canada’s Standing and Infoway’s Responsibility, he states:
"At this juncture in the eHealth journey we Canadians should feel concerned and embarrassed by how we compare to other industrialized nations in the degree to which our community-based physicians use EMRs....The concern about Canada’s state and standing is shared by its physicians.
So if the physician community recognizes the problem then why have doctors not embraced EMRs and exploited them to improve the quality, safety and sustainability of Canadian healthcare? There are three answers to this essential question:
- The degree of personal cost to the physician
- Insufficiencies in the available electronic record offerings
- Poor leadership from jurisdictions and Infoway
The 3rd article I would like to share is one that I wrote entitled, Barriers to the Adoption of EMRs in Medical Clinics. A short excerpt is presented:
"EMR adoption still struggles to gain momentum despite all of the perceived benefits. Why is this and what are the barriers to adoption? There is no simple answer to this question. Rather, there are a number of challenges that together create compelling reasons why many not to adopt EMRs. In order to encourage widespread adoption, it is important that we clearly understand these barriers and develop/implement strategies to overcome them.
In order to separate barriers into understandable elements, I have placed them in the following categories, beginning at a system level and focusing in on challenges at the practice level.
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