Quebec to expand $1.6 billion EHR

Aims to reach 17 province regions by 2015
By Erin McCann
10:53 AM

Quebec province in eastern Canada is poised to roll out a $1.6 billion electronic health record system across all 17 regions of the province after seeing marked success with four regional pilot programs.

Quebec Minister of Health and Social Services Rejean Hebert announced Monday that starting summer 2013, the Quebec Health Record will be gradually extended to all province regions, reaching more than eight million people by 2015's end. 

"We turn now to an experimental project in only four regions to a specific national project," said Hebert, in a press statement. The QHR was initially deployed back in 2008, in the Capitale-Nationale region.

Health officials say their QHR education campaign focuses on informing the public about the health record and awareness of their rights, including the right to refuse to participate in the EHR. According to a report by CTV Montreal, only 1 percent of eligible patients have opted out of sharing their health information. 

[See also: Canada's TELUS Health expands big time.]

"The Quebec Health Record contributes significantly to strengthen frontline services and ensure better monitoring of patients, wherever they are," added Hebert. "Deployment across Quebec is good news for citizens and for the network of health and social services."

The QHR pilot programs have already extended to some 13 family medical groups, 12 medical laboratories, 135 pharmacies, six community health clinics and five emergency rooms in the Capitale-Nationale region.

Officials say the QHR will further facilitate information exchange among health care professionals, which will be readily available to doctors, nurses and pharmacists. Hebert says this system will help contribute to the efficiency of the health system and social services, in particular by encouraging earlier intervention and more effective monitoring.

Health information that are deemed essential or may be collected by the EHR include: prescription drug information,laboratory results, medical imaging results, immunizations, allergies and clinical data summaries.