February 11, 2009
For immediate release
OTTAWA - The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, today announced that the Government of Canada, through its Economic Action Plan, is continuing to support the creation of health information systems designed to benefit Canadians by saving time and lives, while also creating economic stimulus.
Support from Budget 2009 will assist Canada Health Infoway in implementing electronic health records. It will also speed up the implementation of electronic medical record systems for physicians, as well as connect hospitals, pharmacies and community care facilities.
"An electronic health record system will improve the safety and accountability of the overall health-care system," said Minister Aglukkaq.
"It will save time and lives by reducing duplication, improving the management of chronic disease, improving access to care and boosting productivity. This will result in a positive contribution to Canada's economy, including the creation of thousands of sustainable, knowledge-based jobs throughout Canada."
Many other countries are following Canada's adoption of electronic health records, which give health-care providers a complete picture of their patients' health history and help them to provide better care. Electronic health records will also help to reduce wait times by speeding the flow of information through the system, eliminating duplicate or unnecessary tests, and reducing hospital stays due to adverse drug events. Automated alerts and reminders will help to reduce medication errors and remind health-care providers of necessary tests or vaccinations.
Funding of $500 million announced today is in addition to $400 million in support provided to Canada Health Infoway in Budget 2007. This brings the Government of Canada's total commitment to this initiative to $2.1 billion. Since its inception, Infoway and its provincial and territorial partners have made good progress in making electronic health records a reality in Canada. Across the country, increasing numbers of Canadians and health-care providers are gaining access to health information through secure electronic systems.
"The Government of Canada's continued investment in the development of electronic health record systems across Canada will result in continued modernization of the health-care system, with tangible results for Canadians in every corner of the country," said Richard Alvarez, President and CEO, Canada Health Infoway.
"In addition to benefiting the health system, electronic health records are also reducing operating costs and stimulating the economy by creating thousands of jobs."
Canada Health Infoway is an independent, not-for-profit corporation established in 2001 to accelerate the development of health information and communication technologies such as electronic health records (EHRs), telehealth, and public health surveillance systems on a pan-Canadian basis. Its members are the 14 federal, provincial and territorial Deputy Ministers of Health.
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Office of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
Federal Minister of Health