Empowering consumers with their health records

Friday, April 18, 2008 General News
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TORONTO, April 17 /PRNewswire/ - As the Internet has enabledconsumers to manage important aspects of their personal lives from therelative comfort of their home, it is no surprise that Canadians are becomingincreasingly intrigued by the prospect of being able to view and manage theirhealth information using emerging personal health records (PHR) technologies.

Recent announcements by major players in the IT industry suggest suchcapabilities are just around the corner. Recognizing developments in this areaare moving quickly, Canada's federal, provincial and territorial healthministries have expressed support for Canada Health Infoway's (Infoway) planto discuss personal health record solutions with interested vendors and toexplore how these technologies could be made available to Canadians in asecure manner.

"Providing Canadians and their health care providers with appropriate andsecure access to their health information has been our goal from the onset,"said Richard Alvarez, President and CEO of Canada Health Infoway, thefederally-funded, independent, not-for-profit organization that is leading theadoption of electronic health records across Canada. "The prospect of seeingconsumer health solutions in the Canadian marketplace is an excitingdevelopment indeed. It is also critical that we ensure these offerings providethe appropriate level of trust, protecting the privacy and security ofCanadians' health information."

"The Government of Canada, through its funding of Infoway, is investing inthe national transition from paper to electronic health records," said theHonourable Tony Clement, Federal Minister of Health. "I am pleased thatpersonal health record solutions will complement and leverage our investmentsto date in e-health solutions. With the appropriate ground work in place, PHRswill ultimately deliver greater value to Canadian patients."

"Canadians are taking increasingly active roles in managing their chronicdiseases and preventing illness from setting in," said Chris d'Entremont,Minister of Health for Nova Scotia, who serves as the liaison minister betweenInfoway and federal, provincial and territorial health ministers. "Ourinvestments in the implementation of electronic health records are crucial toour goal of ensuring Canadians have access to the information and tools theyneed to manage their care. The onset of personal health record solutions canaccelerate our desire to enable patients to have these capabilities."

A number of technology vendors have expressed interest in creatingsolutions that will equip Canadians with the technology they need to viewtheir medical data. Working with Infoway and its partners will help ensure thesolutions available to Canadians will leverage the progress made inimplementing electronic health record projects across Canada. Using technologysolutions that are compatible with Infoway's blueprint will ensure patientprivacy and security provisions are adhered to.

Infoway has funded 249 electronic health record projects across Canada todate. These secure systems are leading the pan-Canadian switch frominefficient paper-based storage of medical data such as lab test results,prescription history and allergy information to electronic systems that arefar more efficient, save money, and save lives.

Canada Health Infoway is an independent, not-for-profit organizationfunded by the Federal government. Infoway jointly invests with every provinceand territory to accelerate the development and adoption of electronic healthrecord projects in Canada. Fully respecting patient confidentiality, thesesecure systems will provide clinicians and patients with the information theyneed to better support safe care decisions and manage their own health.Accessing this vital information quickly will help foster a more modern andsustainable health care system for all Canadians.

SOURCE Canada Heal

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