In buying Ontario's biggest health records provider Telus expands its electronic medical offerings for sharing information between doctors and hospitals
By: Howard Solomon Computing Canada (26 Feb 2013)
Telus Corp. continues to believe that the electronic medical records business is healthy for its bottom line.
The Vancouver-based telecom said Tuesday that it has offered to buy the PS Suite EMR business of MD Practice Software LIP, a subsidiary of the Canadian Medical Association and said to be Ontario’s largest electronic medical records provider.
In a statement Telus Health president Paul Lepage said his division “firmly believes that by securely connecting physicians to the broader healthcare continuum and facilitating confidential interactions between the patient and their full care teams, we will further realize our vision of turning information into better health outcomes.
"This acquisition is part of Telus Health's future vision for next generation EMR, which enables us to examine best practices, drive efficiencies and reduce care gaps throughout the healthcare system, resulting in strengthened primary care access for Canadians."
The purchase is scheduled to close March 4. No financial terms were announced.
The move to buy PS Suite is the latest of a number of Telus [TSX: T] medical-related acquisitions in the past five years, including the purchase of EMR providers Wolf Medical Systems in Western Canada and KinLogix in Quebec.
PS Suite is aimed at doctors’ offices and despite its name is what many in the industry would call a solution for electronic health records (E.H.R.). By contrast an EMR system is used by hospitals and regional health authorities for sharing E.H.Rs,
PS Suite, which can integrate into hospital EMRs, runs on PCs or Macs and organizes patient information, progress notes and lab results.
Telus Health offers a range of on-premise and cloud solutions across the health system not only for doctors and hospitals but also for pharmacies and extended healthcare providers such as physiotherapists and chiropractors. There are also mobile device management, telehealth and home care monitoring solutions.
Lepage said the acquisition of MD Practice Software will boost from 4,500 the more than 9,000 the number of physicians that Telus provide EHR tools to nationwide.
The company also provides EMR tools to no less than 27,000 pharmacists and 14,000 extended health care provides across the country.
Compared to other developed countries, Canada has been slow in adopting EMR technolog, but Lepage sees this as an opprtunoity for companies like Telus.
"EMR adoption in Canada is about 50 per cent while comparable developed countries are at around 90 per cent," he said. "Telus, however is bullish on EMR adoption."
Lepage pointed to three key factors that will bolster EMR adoption in th enear future:
-Increased government focus on supporting EMR in larger family clinics, especially those with extended healthcare providers -Influx into the system of younger doctors more familiar with mobile technologies as well a physicians who recognize the value of electronic data and connectivity -Growing involvement of provinces in providing support funding for EMR initiatives