MediSolution's CEO to plead for bigger focus on basic technology integration in health care funding

Toronto 07 November 2000The federal health care technology spending in Canada should be dedicated to putting new technology into the hands of health care providers who suffer from a serious lack of technology. This is the firm belief of Remi St-Hilaire, President and CEO of MediSolution Ltd., who recently held a talk to delegates at the Ontario Hospital Association meeting.

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"Canadian hospitals are 20 years behind other economic sectors in access to technology. Our immediate challenge is not to develop new and better technology", stated Mr. St-Hilaire. "It is to make effective use of what we have today. We must work together to ensure these investments get their intended use instead of being vaporised in grandiose white elephant technology development projects."

Citing the scene of a traffic accident as an example, the speaker noted that the police has access to all the information needed about the people involved whereas the paramedics on the scene know nothing about the victims whose lives they are trying to save. "We can withdraw money from our bank accounts from almost anywhere in the world but we still need a messenger somehow to take the x-rays from the radiology department to the physician's office."

"Lack of access to basic technology is costing the system millions of dollars annually and even worse, it is wasting the precious time of our health care professionals on tasks which add nothing to enhance the health of the patient", the speaker charged.

Remi St-Hilaire noted that although the federal government has announced a $500 million investment in health care technology earlier this year, this money is at risk of being wasted on research and development projects based on past experience. Instead, these funds could be put to much better use by introducing current technology into the health care system.

"The smooth integration of health care delivery begins with shared information", stated Mr. St-Hilaire. "The challenge in integrating health care systems is not a technical one. The impediments to integration at the community and regional level are basically human factors: investment, commitment and a will to change."

Shared access to patient records among physicians, through a longitudinal patient record, enables the health care provider to track every event in the patient's life. Not only is this more cost-effective but Mr. St-Hilaire believes this technology also leads to better patient care. "This technology is the basis for improving every aspect of health care delivery from home care through ambulatory and acute care to chronic care while at the same time driving down the cost of delivering that care. It is the basis for a quantum leap in the ability of telehealth to benefit Canadians everywhere."

MediSolution has already successfully implemented this technology into health care organisations throughout North America. However, changing conservative attitudes and conquering over fears that the technology will become unwieldy and complex is the greatest challenge when implementing a new concept.

"When it is understood that new technology will no longer mean a massive upheaval and that older records will be integrated into new systems, physicians will be much more willing to participate", commented Mr. St-Hilaire.

MediSolution Ltd. is Canada's leading health care information technology company with offices across Canada, in the U.S., and partners around the world. MediSolution's systems are installed in more than half of Canada's health care institutions. The company offers a comprehensive suite of information systems, managed services, integration technology, application hosting services and professional services to hospitals and other health care institutions. MediSolution also has an installed base of practice management systems serving physicians and pharmacists.


Leslie Versweyveld

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