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Manitoba-eHealth drives adoption of province-wide EHR

Manitoba-eHealth is reshaping the way the province delivers healthcare. It’s a big job to deliver an EHR system that serves 1.2 million people spread across 650,000 km2 (roughly the size of Texas).

Manitoba-eHealth recognized the limitations of a paper-based system. The organization wanted an electronic system that was practical, easy to use and relevant. Because patient information is a powerful tool in the hands of clinicians.

Access to patient data helps inform care decisions

For example, Dr. Ricardo Lobato de Faria was the physician on duty at Seven Oaks Hospital (Winnipeg, Manitoba) the night a patient walked in complaining of chest pains. He quickly diagnosed an irregular heartbeat, also known as arrhythmia. Because Seven Oaks has eChart, an electronic health record (EHR) system from dbMotion, he could access more information about the patient.

“Using eChart altered the path of care,” said Dr. Lobato de Faria in a recent article. After reviewing the patient’s information, caregivers realized they could treat the patient’s arrhythmia by increasing his medication dosage. Without access to this data, caregivers may have applied standard emergency treatment (i.e., electric shock), and it would not have addressed the underlying problem.

Launching eChart in Manitoba

Manitoba-eHealth launched the project in December 2010 with 33 primary care and emergency departments. The goal was to create more time for patient care by reducing the time clinicians spent searching for information. It also wanted to improve access to patient information and collaboration between providers.

Many Manitoba healthcare providers no longer need signs like these, because patient information is now available thorugh eChart.

eChart provides clinicians with a consolidated view of key patient health information. The information feeds into eChart from existing electronic systems, including prescriptions from retail pharmacies, immunization histories, demographic information, lab results and diagnostic image reports.

Lessons learned during implementation

At a recent dbMotion client conference, Manitoba e-Health’s manager of eChart, Shelley Irvine Day, shared a couple of lessons learned:

1)      Know your “customers”

Take the time to plan your strategy with site requirements in mind. For example, Manitoba-eHealth discovered that the system’s information was sometimes too urban-centric for more rural sites. Also be aware of each site’s IT projects, such as integrations with other systems, to help avoid potential conflicts during implementation.

2)      Communicate early and often

Manitoba-eHealth started driving demand before the program started with e-mail blasts and web information. In response to feedback, it also simplified and condensed its training materials, minimizing the amount of time required for clinicians to complete training. Users responded well to a variety of support materials, including an extranet, ongoing site reports, support contacts and “go-live” celebrations.

Information is the best medicine

These efforts are paying off. Manitoba-eHealth is currently in its next phase of deployment, with a goal to reach more than 300 sites.

Accelerated deployment has dramatically increased user adoption in Manitoba. For example, user logins have increased from 20,000 to nearly 40,000 in just one quarter.

I look forward to more great results from Manitoba-eHealth as the EHR system continues to re-shape how the province delivers healthcare.


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