PEI leads the way with electronic medical record systems

PEI leads the way with electronic medical record systems

Prince Edward Island is leading the country with its recently implemented, province-wide, electronic medical records system.

It’s a key part of the island’s fundamental family medicine reorganization, a move which officials hope will finally strike a serious blow against the ongoing healthcare crisis.

The vast majority of family doctors on PEI are now using an electronic medical record to manage the treatment of their patients.

Just two years ago 70 per cent of island general practitioners were primarily using paper records, and the rest were using what amounted to a virtual filling cabinet.

The new system is standardized, allowing doctors and allied health professionals to share patient information instantly and more securely than through a fax or by mail.

“I send a referral through the system,” said Dr. Kristy Newson, lead physician. “They see my patient. They messaged me back saying, ‘this patient was seen, please review,’ so in that type of way or collaboration has improved.”

It hasn’t been without hiccups, various technical glitches caused hundreds of missed referrals over the last two years, however, Health PEI officials say those issues have been resolved.

The rollout also took a month-long pause over the last summer, to give doctors who were already on the system extra training, and to make software improvements suggested by doctors.

“We’re focusing on just having those supports in place for when people need them, so they can take advantage of them,” said Kim Knox, director of Digital Health. “Listening to the concerns and trying to act on that.”

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 PEI

The system allows a number of health professionals to work closely together, sharing patient information efficiently and comprehensively. It’s the foundation of PEI’s patient medical homes initiative, a move to replace single practice family physicians with teams of specialists, to serve more patients with fewer MD’s.

“The doctor is part of the team, but they’re not everything,” said Dr. Michael Gardam, Health PEI CEO. “Many doctor visits don’t need to be held with a doctor. You may be seeing a physio or a nurse practitioner, or whoever, and all those people are sharing your care, so they all need to access that record.”

12 patient medical homes have been set up so far.

Dr. Gardam also says this is the best possible recruiting tool, no new doctor graduating from med school wants to work where paper is the preferred method.

Back To Top