The federal government has announced improved data-sharing for hospitals in the northwest. Federal cabinet minister Patty Hajdu made the announcement earlier today.
“Having good data and information is critical to making good decisions and growing our economy. Our government is thrilled to support this important project that will help transform our regional and national economies. This is a true collaboration between all northwestern Ontario hospitals and shows what we can do when we work together. Congratulations to the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre and all of its partners,” said the minister.
Once completed, the new system will allow for the sharing of electronic medical records, images, test results among hospitals in the northwest, as well as some nursing stations in Nishnawbe Aski Nation (including Pikangikum, Deer Lake, Sandy Lake).
As recent as 2014, medical records in Kenora were being kept on paper, making it difficult for them to be transferred, especially in the case of an emergency. The hospital introduced the Meditech system in 2015, allowing for better continuity of care within the building, as well as easier distribution to other hospitals.
Ontario's eHealth scandal erupted in 2011, when the province was unable to show progress on electronic medical records, despite spending $1 billion. There have also been plans to link First Nation clinics with the provincial system.
The FedNor investment will also assist with research systems and business applications, Regional Picture Archiving Communications Systems (PACS), as well as business intelligence and administrative systems. Furthermore, the new equipment and expanded capacity is expected to help foster collaborative research opportunities in data mining and analytics, strengthen data management and usage, and facilitate disaster recovery.
“The Northwest Health Alliance is proud to be part of this partnership which will see an expanded state-of-the-art regional data centre to help serve our regional hospitals and our patients’ through-out the northwest. We are thankful for the new funding from the Government of Canada and FedNor that not only helps improve services in Thunder Bay, but at all of our 12 regional hospitals from Manitouwadge to Kenora. Technology is a valuable bridge that allows our region to provide fast and efficient health care in any of our regional hospital sites," said David Murray, executive director for the Northwest Health Alliance.
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