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Ontario ramps up efforts to increase use of electronic health records


December 2, 2013
By Canadian Chiropractor staff

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Dec. 2, 2013 — Ontario is making progress on its commitment to ensure every Ontarian has an electronic health record by expanding their use into 90 community-based health-care clinics, giving 500,000 patients access to an electronic health record.

Forty-five of Ontario's 90 Association of Ontario Health Centre member
clinics, including community health centres, nurse-practitioner-led
clinics and aboriginal health access centres, have already added
electronic health records into their practice.

By moving from a
cumbersome paper-based system to secure, electronic health records,
health-care providers will be able to better serve patients by:

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– Electronically creating, managing and sharing patient information more easily among a patient's health-care providers.
   
– Enhancing the delivery of preventive care and chronic disease management.
       
– Using electronic health record-generated alerts to avoid adverse drug-to-drug interactions.
       
– Sharing and storing secure lab results and helping to eliminate duplication of lab tests.

"More
patients across Ontario will now have access to electronic health
records – which means better health promotion, better management of
chronic conditions and better quality care," said Deb Matthews, Minister
of Health and Long-Term Care. "By integrating these EHRs into their
practice, providers will be able to improve the patient experience for
more Ontarians and their families.”

Modernizing Ontario's
health-care system and finding more efficient and effective ways to
deliver care for patients supports the province's Action Plan for Health
Care. This is part of the government's economic plan to invest in
people, build modern infrastructure, and support a dynamic and
innovative business climate.

Ontario has expanded community
health centres from 54 sites to over 105 sites, providing better care to
patients including those from rural, northern and Aboriginal
communities, as well as homeless, refugees and new Canadians.

Last
October, Matthews announced that within the year, chiropractors will be
added to the list of professionals eligible to work in family health
teams and nurse-practitioner-led clinics. This is in line with the
province's initiatives to address the issue of back pain among
Ontarians.

More than nine million Ontarians have an electronic
health record and 75 per cent of family physicians are using them in
their practice.

"Electronic health records are a fitting addition
to our new centre and they will go a long way toward helping us better
serve disadvantaged clients, who often have greater health challenges
and need care delivered quickly and efficiently across different service
points," said Kim Fraser, executive director, Davenport-Perth
Neighbourhood and Community Health Centre. This community health centre,
along with seven others in Toronto, have already added electronic
health records into their practice.

Davenport-Perth
Neighbourhood and Community Health Centre has also benefitted from $4.3
million in capital funding from the province for the planning and
construction of their new site.

"The government’s commitment to
expand the use of electronic health records to community-governed
primary health-care centres across the province is great news and will
significantly assist our efforts to continue the delivery of high
quality care to people with high needs in communities across Ontario,”
said Adrianna Tetley, CEO, Association of Ontario Health Centres.


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