TELUS Health, a division of Canadian telecommunications company TELUS, has acquired the electronic medical record (EMR) business of MD Practice Software LP of Ontario. With the acquisition, TELUS Health becomes Canada’s largest EMR provider.
TELUS Health, which is based in British Columbia, will now deliver EMR solutions to 9,000 Canadian physicians with an influence on 25 million patient interactions annually. The company, which has invested in healthcare for over 10 years, has also purchased KinLogix in Quebec and Wolf Medical Systems in western Canada.
Canada has a long history of delivering universal healthcare to its citizens. In the early 20th century, the Canadian province of Saskatchewan faced a shortage of doctors. The shortage created a system of municipal doctors in which towns and cities would subsidize a physician who wanted to practice in the community.
By 1946, Saskatchewan passed the Hospitalization Act to deliver free hospital care to any citizen of the province. More provinces followed suit until the country passed the Medical Care Act in 1966 establishing nationwide universal healthcare.
Even with a head start on universal healthcare, Canada is still working on EMR adoption. Nicola Shaw of the University of Alberta, in partnership with the Canadian Medical Association and Canada Health Infoway, has published a number of case studies on how Canadian medical professionals have implemented EMRs.
One of her subjects, Dr. Norman Yee of Calgary, Alberta, started using EMRs in 2002. For the employees of his practice, Dr. Yee focused on the business benefits of EMRs such as the ability to increase both staff and physician efficiency.
In addition, Dr. Yee saw EMRs as a way to make the practice more patient-centric. “It is easier to get information relevant to patient care,” Dr. Yee explained when discussing the benefit of going paperless.
“If I need to look up a particular issue or dosage, I can do that with a few keystrokes, and the patient sees what I’m doing. I think that’s improved confidence.”
Dr. Yee said that information management is a large part of what clinicians do and that medical schools should train future doctors to utilize information management tools.
He also said that part of implementing EMRs is managing change effectively. “It’s like painting a room in your house: it’s all in the prep,” he explained. “The painting part is actually easy. It doesn’t even take long. But, boy, if you haven’t prepped it properly, you’ll find out pretty quickly where all the problems are, because that’s where all the paint will spill.”
Edited by Brooke Neuman