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The Alberta Electronic Health Record
 
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The Alberta EHR is a clinical health information network <br>that securely links community physicians, hospitals and <br>other authorized health care professionals across the <br>province.
The Alberta EHR is a clinical health information network
that securely links community physicians, hospitals and
other authorized health care professionals across the
province.

The Alberta Electronic Health Record

Alberta leads Canada's Healthcare System into the Digital Age.


We asked Grant Chaney and Deputy Minsiter for Alberta SuperNet what his department's long term vision was for their network.

"Our goal is to become invisible. We mean by this; that our ultimate success will be achieved when broadband Internet becomes ubiquitous throughout the province and our government can design the best services possible, without ever having to stop and ask - What about the people that don't have access to broadband?'"


Alberta is already planning for that day by beginning to roll out a health information management system that will revolutionize patient care and generate significant savings in health care costs across the process.

The Electronic Health Record (EHR) is a national Canadian initiative designed to move towards developing the ability to keep as much of your medical history and test results as possible in electronic form. The province of Alberta happens to be on the leading edge of this development and is now deploying a live, Alberta-wide electronic health record system that is already showing practical benefits for both patients and health care providers.

What is the Alberta EHR?: The Alberta EHR is a clinical health information network that securely links community physicians, pharmacists, hospitals, and other authorized health care professionals across the province. It lets these health care providers see, and in some cases update, a summary of key health information such as a patient’s allergies, prescriptions, and lab test results. It also provides a number of tools to support clinical decisions, including: drug-to-drug interaction alerts to avoid prescriptions that conflict; a database of all available drugs and their common dosages; and links to information support such as clinical guidelines from the Alberta Medical Association.

What are the advantages to having an EHR?: The short answer to this question is better quality healthcare. Physicians, hospitals, clinics, pharmacists, and testing labs all experience a different advantage, but they can all do their job better when they know more about their patients’ medical history and more about tests and procedures a patient may have undergone.

Where is information about you in the Alberta EHR stored?: In Alberta, each clinic, hospital, or laboratory maintains information about you. When an authorized Alberta EHR user requests access to your information, the key subset of that information is instantly called from the locations where it is stored and presented in one view. Your record may then be retained in their system for future use. It is important to know that, in order to have access to the Alberta EHR, health care providers must complete a privacy impact assessment of their systems for the Alberta Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner, and they must securely login through two levels of authentication. Patient information is protected by security technology and by law (Alberta Health Information Act).

How can you learn more?: Read below what professionals in Alberta who are using the Alberta EHR have to say. You can also visit the Alberta Wellnet web site at: http://www.albertawellnet.org .

For more information about the Canadian EHR initiative visit: www.infoway-inforoute.ca .


Joan Childs is a Registered Nurse (RN) with 20 years experience working at the Northeast Community Health Centre (NECHC) practicing alongside 35 other RNs and 30 physicians.
“The ability to access lab test results ordered by other providers was a big motivator for us to enroll in the Alberta EHR. This access reduces duplication of tests, which is important from a cost standpoint, but also because it prevents the unnecessary duplication of invasive tests. The Alberta EHR is an effective tool that provides us with the appropriate health information to give accurate answers and advice.”


Laurine Sanderson is one of 40 pharmacists working out of the inpatient pharmacies at the University of Alberta Hospital. Her specialty is surgery and she is one of four pharmacists providing services in this area.
“Before the Alberta EHR, it could be difficult and time consuming to get the information required from the patient. Sometimes patients are unconscious, they may be confused or there may be a language barrier. Many of our older patients come in for elective surgery to have hips or knees repaired or replaced. By the time the patient is admitted to hospital, their medication profile may have changed. The physicians in the hospital rely on this information to order appropriate therapy. With quick access to the Alberta EHR, I can check for changes in medication therapy and allergies and confirm them with the patient and/or the retail pharmacist.”


Dr. Harvey Sternberg operates a seven physician Family Medicine Clinic at the University of Alberta Hospital. It was about a year ago his clinic computerized with the help of the Physician Office System Program (POSP).
"With the move from the traditional paper chart to an electronic medical record and computerizing other key clinic operating functions such as billing, scheduling, and administration, adding the Alberta Electronic Health Record (EHR) was a natural progression. We had also heard good things from other users. For example, I am now able to immediately view my patient’s lab work. I can turn my monitor around in the examination room to review the results with my patient. I can look up any lab test over the last two years and immediately spot trends or values that have improved or deteriorated.

This kind of evaluation would have had to have been done manually in the past, digging through all the paper lab test records. It has enabled me and my colleagues to make better decisions and provide better care.”




 

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