Canada EHR pilot reaches phase two

DALLAS -- The Canadian Forces Health Information System has just completed the first phase of a pilot deployment of a bilingual (English and French) electronic health record (EHR) system for 60,000 active-duty and 25,000 reserve personnel.

At the annual Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference here, Cmdr. Tim Kavanagh, project director for the Canadian Forces EHR system, told Federal Computer Week he expects the system to be fully deployed by 2008.

Lockheed Martin won a contract valued at just under $20 million to develop and deploy a pilot EHR system at bases in Edmonton, Alberta; Esquimalt, British Columbia; and Ottawa, Ontario, in 2002. Jay Sheridan, a medical consultant for the Canadian Forces Health Information System project, said Lockheed Martin successfully demonstrated the system's patient scheduling and registration functions during the first phase.

Last month Lockheed Martin won a $25 million contract for the second phase, which includes deploying the system at multiple sites across Canada, Kavanagh said.

The second phase will also add more functionality to the system, Sheridan said, including placing orders electronically and inputting laboratory results and diagnostic imagery from X-rays and CT scans into EHRs.

Although Canadian Forces officials have defined the design and development of its EHR system, Kavanagh said he visited the exhibit area of the U.S. Defense Department's Military Health System in the HIMSS exhibition hall to glean any valuable lessons learned that he could incorporate into the Canadian system.

He said he believes the Canadian system will eventually provide the 2,500 clinicians who will use the system with a wide variety of electronic medical data, and when it is fully deployed, the system will free them from spending days combing through paper files.

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