I have written several articles in Healthcare Information Management & Communications Canada (on my own and co-authored with Bill Pascal, CTO for the Canadian Medical Association) regarding the need for a more “bottom approach” to integrating health IT systems across the continuum of care. The crux of my argument is that the health sector is more an “ecosystem” and less an “enterprise”. Hence, top down approaches are less likely to deliver tangible results in reasonable periods of time and are have a higher probability of failure.
Given my perspective on the need for more bottom initiatives, I was very interested to hear about a local integration project led by OntarioMD with funding from eHealth Ontario. Physicians at the Barrie and Community Family Health Team are now electronically receiving patient reports from the Royal Victoria Hospital in Barrie. These reports are transferred directly into the family health team’s EMR and include:
- Medical reports including discharge, consult, oncology, and surgery
- Diagnostic imaging reports (text only)
A key feature of the newly developed electronic Hospital Report Manager is that works with any EMR subsidized by Ontario’s EMR Adoption Program and can be used by any Ontario hospital. EMR vendors need only develop a single interface to the Hospital Report Manager while each Hospital need only develop a single interface to the Hospital Report Manager.
Vendors involved in developing the Hospital Report Manager include:
- Orion Health whose Rhapsody integration engine is at the heart of the Hospital Report Manager
- Clinicare whose EMR product is used by the Barrie and Community Family Health Team.
- MyDDS and Graphically Speaking who developed the underlying database for routing reports
- Praxia which is conducting project evaluations
- Trusted by Design which performed the Privacy Impact Assessment
- Healthvision who developed the interface to the hospital’s Meditech hospital information system
Phase 2 is currently underway which will extend the scope of the project to additional participants including four new family health teams and three new hospitals. Phase 3 and beyond depends upon availability of additional funding from eHealth Ontario.