“We’re entering the 21st Century,” said one staff member at Clearwater’s Medical Center.
The local healthcare facility is converting from a paper-based to an electronic medical records (EMR) system.
The first stage switchover is expected to be complete at the end of this month, when the new Med Access software goes online.
The principal advantage of the new system is that it will help ensure better follow-up on patient care, said the Medical Center spokesperson.
This will be especially true with more complex cases, for example people suffering from congestive heart disease, diabetes and related illnesses.
About half the physicians and specialists in Kamloops now use an EMR system. The new software will allow them to communicate their results and questions directly with computers in Clearwater.
At present, test results from Kamloops or elsewhere are typically faxed to Clearwater. The new system will help ensure those results go to the right place.
Because of the ongoing doctor shortage, a high proportion of temporary physicians or locums serve in Clearwater. Many of those locums have found the lack of an EMR system frustrating.
This is particularly true of the younger locums.
“They’re used to computerized everything,” said the spokesperson.
According to the Med Access website, the new software is used in all four western provinces and Ontario. It has nearly 4,000 users, representing 30 medical specialties, and ranging from solo practices to medical schools to province-wide EMR collaboratives.