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Are GP Oriented EMRs Appropriate for Specialists?

Posted Oct 30 2008 3:21pm

This is the first posting in a new section that I have created on CanadianEMR focused specifically on specialist needs for EMR. The focus in Canada to date has been to identify EMR systems that meet the needs of GPs, the largest single group of physicians. This has also occurred at a time that primary care has begun a significant transition process. Ontario has limited funding for EMRs to primary care physicians who are willing to change their practice structure to a shared model of care through FHTs, FHNs, FHGs. Alberta recognized the needs of specialists and through their funding program, provided support for specialists to adopt EMR systems. British Columbia, through the PITO program has also designated funding for both specialists and GPs, however with different limitations to Alberta.

Requirements for EMRs as a result of RFPs, selection and conformance testing processes across Canada have tended to select out EMR systems that are designed to meet the needs of GPs rather than specialists. However, is this statement really true? Can these systems be used efectively by specialists? Are there differences between specialties that require specific EMR solutions in order to meet these needs? Are there some basic requirements for all EMR systems that should be able to meet the needs of GPs and specialists equally? The purpose of this posting is to begin to flush out these thoughts and ideas.

Canada is at a critical juncture as we begin to deploy EMR systems more widely. 50% of physicians in Canada are specialists and the critical business need in a functional health care system is for GPs and speciliasts to be able to communicate effectively with one another (as occurs in the paper world). Your thoughts, comments and feedback will help to inform this critical issue.

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