Best Practices 2005: E-health records

There were more questions than answers this year in health care. Is standardization feasible? Can we manage both privacy and IT? Where does open source fit in? Can we afford an upgrade? Patients in Calgary were asking where their records went when an IT glitch caused 2,000 lab results to go awry.

The march towards electronic health records continues unabated, despite the range of potential and real obstacles. Some e-health projects, like the Ontario government’s plan, may be behind schedule, but it’s on the agenda for most Canadian health-care providers.

E-health in the news:

Toronto hospital acts the part
Canada Health Infoway has set up a lab to test common scenarios using a mix of actors and real doctors. Find out how roleplaying could one day improve e-records management

Ontario seeks standard approach to data management
The province recruits some experts to help streamline the way information is used across its 14 new local integrated health networks, but unions say technology won’t save us from the problems regionalization can bring

Cavoukian provides check-up on PHIPA ‘lockbox’
Ontario privacy commissioner outlines impact on e-health management

DND tackles global e-health record mission
When troops are stationed overseas, it can be a logistical battle to provide a consistent view of health-care data. The department and its partner Lockheed Martin tell us how a soldier in Afghanistan can make sure he’s up to date when he reports home to B.C.

Special coverage:

Canadian health-care providers cry poor
Doctors and nurses claim they’re pushed to the limit, without the means or wherewithal to grow beyond their existing IT infrastructure. They explain why a patient can be a data silo just as easily as a server can

E-health strategist: Stop whining about funding problems
Hospitals see IT investments competing with hiring needs, exec says

Calgary’s e-health glitch: What went wrong
A database upgrade gone awry mixes up lab results for thousands of patients across the city, raising serious questions around liability. Officials discuss their strategy to prevent it from happening again

Is open source a healthy choice?
A University of Ottawa researcher says lack of support means open source isn’t ready for adoption within hospitals and other care providers. We explore the “many eyeballs” argument

Case studies:

Ottawa Hospital upgrades to Java-based EHR system
Dinmar’s software allows doctors to view patient info via Web browser

All In One Place
Newfoundland’s Centre for Health Information turns to customer data integration tools to give it always accurate, always up-to-date information

Nfld. centre to develop electronic pharmacy network
Emergis selected to lead EHR project linking 87 outlets

Four Counties Health Services prescribes wireless LAN
Family practice clinic deploys Cisco gear to chart patients electronically

Sunnybrook adds ID management to key IT systems
Single sign-on to help health-care provider deal with privacy rules

Editorials and commentary:

Dumb Systems for Health?
Some context behind the Star’s less-than-stellar critique of SSHA


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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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