What the eHealth Ontario DR Announcement Means and Why it is so Important to Ontarians

With CGI being awarded the Diabetes Registry, DR, contract with the province it is important for Ontarians to realize what this means to them. The DR will be the first integrated end to end Chronic Disease Management System to be implemented in Ontario. It is more than Wait Times, WTIS, or the Ontario Labs Information System, OLIS. This is because the DR relies on corner stone systems to operate. The DR portal will be a big step for the province and Electronic Health Records, EHR, for Ontarians.

The eHealth Ontario site released the following in their press release:

The number of Ontarians with diabetes has doubled over the last 10 years – and has grown to more than one million people in 2010. A CDMS to manage diabetes treatment and prevent the onset of related conditions such as heart disease, stroke and kidney disease, will save lives, improve the quality of life for Ontarians, and will contribute to more sustainable health care by reducing a significant burden on the healthcare system in Ontario.  It will also form an essential part of electronic health records.

A system for health care providers to manage diabetes care is one of the key deliverables of the province’s Ontario Diabetes Strategy and a top clinical priority for eHealth Ontario. The CDMS-Diabetes Registry will be an interactive, real-time information tool to help providers develop care plans and monitor clinical results to improve care. The CDMS-Diabetes Registry will build on the foundation of eHealth Ontario’s provincial identification and access systems infrastructure to ensure the secure identification of patients, providers and relevant diabetes health care services, based on common informatics standards and access technology.

Providers will be able to:

·         Manage the care of patients with diabetes according to recommended guidelines;

·         Securely receive data from sources such as OHIP claims and lab test results;

·         Access important tests and lab results to provide better care;

·         Produce reminders, alerts and reports to improve patient care.


The above begs the question: if CGI is managing the DR what is the future of the two eHealth Ontario data centres? It is the continued challenge that eHealth Ontario has faced since its inception (properly managing public perception and demonstrating their value add to the tax payer).

What isn’t evident in the communication is the DR dependency on corner stone systems.  This is where eHealth Ontario is adding value: by hosting corner stone systems that are required for the DR to operate.  These systems either currently reside or will reside in the eHealth Ontario Data Centres. This includes DR integration with OLIS, the Client Registry and other applications hosted at eHealth Ontario.

If the DR implementation is successful it represents a landmark achievement in the province as it will provide the first real instance of a true EHR in Ontario. The portal will link to multiple results and be a single view for diabetes care in the province.

This is still a far cry from an EHR for all. But if successful eHealth Ontario will have created the foundation of corner stone systems that other applications can leverage. Medication management, Cancer treatment, Heart and Stroke, and the list goes on.  The news brings the 2012 eHealth Strategy closer to a reality.

More info about the eHealth Strategy: The eHealth Strategy

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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