2012-09-27 at NOON
Records go online
Medical oncologist Nicole Laferriere says e-charts will allow physicians to have better access to all of their patients' history.
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While undergoing treatment, cancer patients see their medical record file grow thicker and thicker.
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“The chances of losing papers, misplacing them, misfiling them is always there,” said Bob Pfaff.
Pfaff’s wife has been cancer-free for eight years now, but when she was battling lung cancer and her file kept growing, he said it was obvious to him there was a better way of doing things.
Thursday Pfaff was on hand at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre when it was announced that Regional Cancer Care Northwest will be paperless by April 2013.
Now cancer patients in Northwestern Ontario will have all of their medical records in one electronic file.
“With electronic health care records – like in banking, like in government records – it’s there, it’s available and for the most part, very up-to-date and correct,” said Pfaff, a patient family advisor and member of the e-chart implementation team.
Funded by Canada Health Infoway, the e-chart system will be utilized in 13 sites throughout the Northwest from Hearst to Fort Frances.
Medical oncologist Nicole Laferriere said by creating electronic medical records, it continues Regional Cancer Care’s goal of putting patients and family at the centre of their care.
Currently when patients who have blood tests or x-rays at various laboratories and medical centres across the region, the results are collected in paper form, usually through fax, and then filed.
When the patient comes to their appointment, Laferriere said if the result they’re looking for was done at the TBRHSC, they will have an electronic file, but not if it was done at any other medical facility.
But with the new system, all the results will flow into one medical file that can be accessed throughout the region by physicians and medical professionals.
“In addition to the results I order, I’ll be able to see results from tests other physicians have ordered or other hospital admissions and when patients come to see me and I’m looking after them, they expect me to know what’s been happening with them medically,” she said.
“Now we have improved the communication between physicians, between facilities, laboratories, diagnostic imaging centres and the patient can feel more confident that all of their results are going to be seen and interpreted when they come to see me,” Laferriere added.
While the goal is to have all Northwestern Ontario cancer care patients with only an electronic file by April of next year, Laferriere said there is the hope it will eventually expand throughout the entire province.
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