Electronic Medical Records Should be a Priority in Ontario: Ontario's Doctors

TORONTO, March 17, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) are having a positive impact on patient care across the province, and Ontario's doctors are calling on all provincial parties to include the expansion of EMRs as a key pillar in their respective platforms in the upcoming election.

Today, there are nearly 6 million patients who are now covered by an EMR, with over 6,000 physicians participating in the EMR adoption program. While Ontario's doctors are well aware of the benefits of EMRs, recent polling conducted on behalf of the Ontario Medical Association reveals that a majority of patients also see the benefits. In fact, 62 per cent of people believe that further investments should be made to expand EMRs in the province.

"Ontario is a leader in expanding access to Electronic Medical Records, but we do not yet have a fully integrated system that can support increased quality of care and support the broader changes to the health care system that are necessary." Mark MacLeod, MD, President of the Ontario Medical Association

EMRs have quickly demonstrated the important role they can play in supporting physicians' advancement of patient care. Physicians that are using EMRs have reported improvements in patient safety, continuity of care and overall quality of care. Physicians are using the systems to write and renew prescriptions, manage lab results, and for preventive care measures.

Today, Ontario's doctors are urging provincial parties to adopt the following recommendations into their respective platforms for the upcoming provincial election, including:

...Creating a flexible exchange of information between physicians and hospitals, laboratories, pharmacists, family doctors and specialists through electronic medical records;

...Putting a plan in place to ensure that every person in Ontario has an electronic medical record.;

...Expanding the use of electronic medical records to 5,000 more physicians.

"EMRs are a critical component in the evolution of the province's health care system. Ensuring that EMRs are available in every doctor's office is an important step towards improving and strengthening Ontario's health care system." Mark MacLeod, MD, President of the Ontario Medical Association

The latest survey results for 2010 clearly illustrate that physicians using EMRs are producing positive results including:

...90 per cent are using EMRs regularly to write and renew prescriptions;

...90 per cent are regularly receiving and managing lab results electronically, up from 82 per cent in 2008;

...92 per cent are using their EMRs to enter their encounter notes, eliminating the need for paper records;

...73 per cent felt they were primarily paperless, up from 60 per cent in 2008.