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For Immediate Release


Feb. 19, 2007

Ministry of Health

British Columbia Medical Association




VICTORIA – The provincial government and the BC Medical Association have taken a major step forward in a new initiative that will help physicians implement electronic medical records, a move that will benefit patients through faster access to health information, improved patient safety and better co-ordination of care.


 A request for proposals has been issued on the BC Bid website seeking vendors to supply electronic medical records to physicians across B.C.  This is part of a joint initiative of the Ministry of Health and the BC Medical Association resulting from last year’s agreement with doctors.


“Electronic medical records are a commitment in our throne speech and a key element of B.C.’s eHealth plan, supporting improvements in patient care, primary care and chronic disease management, as well as in our health-care facilities,” said Health Minister George Abbott. “Once all the eHealth components are in place, a physician will be able to pull up the relevant medical information of a patient being wheeled unconscious into the emergency room. Safe and timely care in all medical situations will improve our ability to treat patients.”


All patient information will be protected by privacy measures that are among the strongest in Canada. eHealth components will comply with the Province’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act as well as the Personal Information Privacy Act.  Patients’ medical records will continue to be patient-owned. In addition, access to patient information will be absolutely restricted to only those having a legal right and clear need to access the information or to access the systems where the information resides.


“Developing this software is an important first step towards a working electronic medical record. This record will give physicians faster access to information that will help them provide better care,” said Dr. Margaret MacDiarmid, president of the BCMA. “Government and the BCMA are working collaboratively to make sure this record meets the needs of patients and physicians across the province.”


The project has been driven by physicians to ensure that the software will meet their needs and improve patient care. The clinical requirements have been developed with input from a Clinical Advisory Group, consisting of over 20 practising physicians. A number of other key stakeholders, including health authorities and the College of Physicians and Surgeons, contributed requirements to ensure the selected electronic medical records meet the needs of practicing physicians.


“Together with the BCMA, we are providing physicians with the tools they need to connect to eHealth,” said Abbott. “This is another example of how the investments in our latest agreement with physicians are transforming the health-care system and improving patient care.”


Proposals will undergo a thorough evaluation and testing process, and up to six successful vendors will be chosen to supply electronic medical records to BC physicians.  A pilot project with practising physicians will begin this summer, with further implementation starting in early 2008. The project is expected to bring electronic medical records into the majority of B.C. physicians’ offices.


The Province is also investing in eHealth with projects such as PharmaNet and Telehealth, in partnership with Canada Health Infoway. As eHealth projects come online, a physician with an EMR in their practice will be able to prescribe and renew medications online safely and quickly, order lab tests and have the results delivered electronically, as well as make referrals to specialists. 







Marisa Adair

Communications Director

Ministry of Health

250 952-1889

250 920-8500 (cell)

Sharon Shore

Manager of Media Relations


604 638-2832


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