November 19, 2019
Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) are increasingly taking part of the Canadian medical landscape with a significant growing adoption. This digital revolution is transforming clinical practice with many significant implications for patients, practitioners, and pharmaceutical professionals.
Through a panel discussion featuring EMR experts, the impact on daily medical practice and key implications for pharmaceutical marketers was explored.
The specific objectives of the meeting were:
Opening Remarks and Housekeeping Carlos Sarmento, PMCQ Vice President social
Introduction of speakers Carlos Sarmento, PMCQ Vice President social
The meeting featured a panel of speakers:
Dave Bard - Co-Founder and President, EMREACH Inc.
EMRs can have an important impact on clinical practice and offer significant time saving and patients care management support to physicians. Different capabilities are provided by EMR systems and the most commonly used functions are:
These softwares bring a great clinical value to health care practitioners (HCPs) especially in regard to facilitating access to patient information. EMRs continue to transform current medical practice by increasing efficiency and accuracy, as well as providing tools to support HCPs decision making.
The EMR adoption in Canada among primary care physicians and specialists is on the rise but a great variability is observed between different provinces. Significant challenges in the market still remain despite this high adoption.
Elias Farah - Co-Founder & CEO, Medfar Clinical Solutions
Avoidable deaths are among the leading causes of mortality in developed countries. Medical errors in clinics and hospitals are a serious concern for the healthcare system and EMRs can help in multiple ways in finding and implementing solutions to improve and standardise patients care. However, data governance remains an important challenge.
A few examples of potential features that EMRs can offer were discussed including virtual care, process automation, and data analytics.
The following trends and opportunities for EMRs to continue changing and transforming clinical practice were highlighted:
Patrick Issid - Co-Founder & VP Development, Medfar Clinical Solutions.
A high-level overview of the daily operations performed by a physician was provided through a demonstration of how to navigate the EMR system. Prescription features and reimbursement formularies filling tools were also reviewed.
Q: Can the EMR system capture prescribing patterns?
Yes, it can. The EMR system can allow physicians to retrieve the most common diagnoses and prescriptions in order to have an overall picture of how patients are being managed at the clinic.
Q: How does the system manages the access to medical information when the clinic has multiple physicians?
There is a way to manage access to the data based on the role of the provider. This can be customized for each clinic based on its needs to make sure the relevant information is available for specific employees while ensuring all the applicable laws around patient confidentiality are respected.
Q: How does the EMR work to communicate and connect with other systems?
Currently, it is still a challenge as there are many different competing providers in the same province. Also, there are still some legislations challenges around information exchange between different clinics. Many providers are currently working on initiatives to build platforms enabling data exchange for clinics that are using the same type of EMR.
Q: Could the EMR system be used in clinical studies?
Definitely, the core functionality of the EMR system is to offer a detailed view of the patient’s evolution during their episode of care and track their symptoms and clinical response to treatments.
Q: What are the measures put in place to protect patients’ information?
A data breach can be either malicious or non-voluntary as a result of a misuse. It’s important to make sure that all users are properly educated on how to operate with the software but also on all the legislation around data security. Providers need to maintain a high level of IT security in regard to intrusion prevention and detection and implement different strategies to reduce the impact of a data breach.
Q: Who oversees the overall data collected?
The province is focusing on the information available on the DSQ (The Dossier Santé Québec) including the medications as well as the imaging and laboratory results. All the data is centralized at the province level regardless of what EMR system has been used initially.
Q: Is it common for different EMR systems to have the capability of identifying patients with specific clinical profiles (therapeutic condition and treatments) for research projects?
It’s important to keep in mind that EMR providers do not have the right to retrieve the data collected from different clinics. Also, some of the older EMR systems do not have the capabilities of segmenting and pulling out the data.
Q: Are you aware of any initiative around the world to find a unified solution that could work across all different EMRs?
To our knowledge, there is no ultimate solution currently available to normalise or standardise data collection across different systems.
Q: Is there any intention to integrate some consensus guidelines into EMRs?
This can definitely be done but the remaining challenge is that each physician within the same clinic might have a different approach on how to apply the guidelines in their clinical practice.
Freelance Medical Writer