Edmonton EMR set to go

Edmonton is set to deploy a region-wide EMR and scheduling system.

With partners Capital Health , and Madison, Wis.-based Epic Systems , the city is aiming to have a common database to support clinicians and physicians, and ultimately benefit patients by October.

There are three components to the new system, with the key ingredient being an enterprise-wide scheduling system, according to Donna Strating, vice president, Information Systems and Equipment, Capital Health.

“There’s also an EMR , which allows you to do electronic charting in the outpatient areas and lastly it’s a patient portal,” she said.

The system is primarily used in two domains, the first to support all the ambulatory services done on the campus of all Capital Health facilities, according to Strating.

“We’re also going to offer it to the physicians on the medical staff of Capital Health who run practices outside of our campus, so we’d be a hosted solution for them,” she said.

Strating said that Capital Health has over two million visits per year in Edmonton and there are about 2,000 physicians on their medical staff.

With respect to the development of the system, Strating said they had approximately 65 people that sat in on the process, about half of those were doctors and the rest were other clinicians.

One of those physicians was Dr. Allen Ausford, a family physician with a private practice in West Edmonton, who also has privileges at a Capital Health hospital.

Ausford said that an important aspect of the new system is that it meets the needs of a large enterprise.

“What was important was that it had the clinical decision support and the research abilities behind it that we could do the things we wanted to do in terms of improving health not just at a patient level but at a population level too,” said Ausford.

To provide more complete information in a “fast, accessible and secure manner” is one of the benefits Ausford anticipates from the system.

“It’s definitely going to improve patient care, because of the fact that more information allows you to make better decisions,” he said.

Ausford said he has been using EMR technology in his office for about five years, and it has “dramatically” improved the care he delivers to his patients.

“It’s really nice to be involved with an organization that recognizes the benefits that these things can do,” he said. “To have the ability to be able to push forward an ambulatory EMR in scheduling is a real big move forward.”

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