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Working group aims to spur e-prescribing in Canada
April 26th, 2011
TORONTO – Canada Health Infoway has formed a working group of clinicians to help further the adoption of electronic prescribing.
The federally funded nonprofit organization, which invests in projects to spur the development and use of electronic health record systems in Canada, said the new working group will help shape the future of e-prescribing in the nation.
"Infoway greatly values the advice and knowledge health care providers have shared with us over the years," Richard Alvarez, president and chief executive officer of Canada Health Infoway, said in a statement. "We are continuing this practice by forming an e-Prescribing Working Group to bring leadership to our efforts to promote electronic prescribing. The goal is to contribute to the efforts of provinces, territories and the private sector to integrate e-prescribing functionality into the clinical systems used by health professionals."
The multidiscipline working group is chaired by Dr. Brendan Bunting, a physician and former president of the Alberta Medical Association. The other members of the working group are Dr. Eric Balser, a physician from Nova Scotia; Dr. Keith Clark, a physician from Saskatchewan; Dr. Stephen Holland, a physician from British Columbia; Iris Krawchenko, a pharmacist from Ontario; and Claudia Mariano, a nurse practitioner from Ontario.
"It's essential that considerations such as workflow and functionality — from the perspective of the health care providers who will be using e-prescribing — be part of the planning from the onset," Bunting stated. "The working group provides a forum in which that dialogue can occur, taking into account the perspectives of various clinical disciplines from different parts of Canada before the systems are designed and built."
E-prescribing allows health providers to fill out and send prescriptions electronically so their patients' pharmacists of choice can access them instantly, according to Infoway, which noted that electronic access to prescriptions increases the productivity of health professionals and helps keep patients safer by reducing medication errors.
Infoway added that the creation of the e-Prescribing Working Group is part of its push to promote the use of electronic medical record (EMR) systems in Canada. EMRs are the records that clinicians keep on their patients, including such information as demographics, medical and drug history, and diagnostic information like laboratory results and findings from diagnostic imaging.