Read the stories below to find out how implementing an electronic medical record has provided benefit to various clinics across Nova Scotia.
Nova Scotia patients win big with health care teams connected to provincial EMR
A growing number of Nova Scotia health care teams are adopting the provincial electronic medical record, transforming the way they work with great benefits for their patients. Clinics like the Amherst Family Health Clinic have embraced the EMR and its ability to enhance a team-based approach to care for patients to optimize health services.
"Through a team approach, the use of the provincial EMR has improved our ability to do comprehensive care and chronic disease management immensely", said Family Practice Nurse Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin. "This supports the care the physicians provide and enhances patient care. The registered nurses and doctors show patients graphs of their progress on the EMR and the patients love this. The ability to receive eResults so soon without faxing and calling the lab has been a real timesaver. The flow of information within our clinic and among our team has been enhanced since adopting the provincial EMR. We're a big busy clinic and the EMR allows us to support each other and our patients in ways that were not possible before we adopted the system. The EMR has helped us to come together as a team and to continue to score high with our patients.
Bright Apples in the Annapolis Valley helping to transform the Nova Scotia health care system
Doctors Mike Wadden and Roger Hamilton are two early adopters of the provincial electronic medical record. Practicing in the beautiful Annapolis Valley, they've been using the provincial EMR for about three years and have mastered much of what it has to offer.
They also are part of a special network of care providers making a difference for a number of Nova Scotia clinics. Both doctors are clinical peer leaders with the Primary Health Care Information Management (PHIM) program's peer network, providing mentoring services for other users of the provincial EMR program.
Transitioning from paper charts to electronic charts can be a big change and the peer network helps clinics deal with these challenges and move forward with adopting the EMR.
Nova Scotia health care providers get connected with the provincial Nightingale EMR
Clinics province-wide are plugging in to the provincial electronic medical record system and enjoying being connected with the rest of the province. Take the North Queens Community Health Centre, a clinic in interior Nova Scotia a few kilometres down the road from the Kejimikujik National Park. "We're a little off the beaten path here", says Dr. Jim Rafferty, "but since joining the provincial EMR Program we always feel connected."
"Our lab information, pathology and radiology results come to us individually from all over the province - immediately from our linked systems; Capital and IWK. Having this connection has made a big difference in the responsiveness of our health care services for our patients. "By being part of this provincial program we are in line for all of the future connections of the modern health system and we are able to stay here in beautiful Queens County, provide excellent care for our patients and remain connected with what is going on province wide. We have the best of both worlds!".
New Age Health Care Pioneers join the Provincial EMR
The Lunenburg Medical Clinic team is among a growing number of pioneers of Nova Scotia's provincial electronic medical records program. Since the fall of 2005, the clinic has been forging its way to a new era in primary care.
"The provincial electronic medical record allows us to coordinate care in ways not possible using the old paper filing and communications systems. We have access to information at our fingertips and this allows us to improve our efficiency. Historically, our staff was preoccupied with finding and sorting through paper for the clinical team. Now our whole team works more productively. We're able to obtain and pass on essential patient information much more efficiently."
"The Primary Health Care Information Management (PHIM) program drew on our experience as the first clinic on the program. Over 1400 health team members have since joined the program. It has been amazing to participate in the ongoing growth of the provincial EMR program and to discover all of the advantages and improvements that can be achieved. Nova Scotia is proving to be a leader in primary care reform, specifically in how the success of the PHIM program has translated into tangible change in delivery of medical care on the front line," says Dr. David Martell, Lunenburg Medical Clinic.
Nova Scotia Physicians Leaders in their Class
A growing number of Nova Scotia physicians, like the physicians at the Park West and Parkland Medical Clinics, are taking on the challenge of learning advanced skills as they adopt the provincial electronic medical records. "We run two big, busy practices that use the provincial EMR- Park West and Parkland Medical", says Melody Knowlton, Clinic Manager, Family Practice Nurse and Nova Scotia EMR Peer Leader.
"We were excited when we heard that the province was starting the EMR program and decided up front that we were going to take our time adopting the system to ensure we continued to see all of our patients. The EMR has so much potential, I wanted our team to optimize the full capability of the program and I knew it was going to take some commitment on their part. I started with Dr. Eddy Kinley who agreed to start doing prescriptions from the EMR. In no time Eddy was prescribing and I put a gold star on his door for his great work and dedication. Before long Dr. Craig St. Peters and Dr. Judy MacNeil were asking what Eddy got the star for and what they could do to get one. Now they all have stars for prescribing and continue to get new stars on their doors as they take on more and more of the system's capability. With the potential and benefits the program has to offer I'm envisioning a lot more stars to come!"
Nova Scotia physicians set to go with state of the art Electronic Medical Records
A number of new Nova Scotian physicians aren't investing in filing cabinets and paper charts, opting instead to open their practices with the province's state of the art electronic medical record charting tools. Physicians like Dr. Karma Murphy and her husband Dr. Chris Murphy moved to Yarmouth in the summer of 2008. Recent medical graduates and new parents, they chose to move to an area in need of family physicians. "We'd heard about the province's EMR program and were interested right away," says Dr. Karma Murphy. "The last thing we wanted to do was to start a practice with paper charts, knowing that we intended to switch to electronic charting within a few years at most."
"We registered with the Primary Healthcare Information Management (PHIM) program right away. The PHIM team helped us develop a schedule and regular meeting times and we got busy. The PHIM program has implementation processes that all clinics implementing the EMR follow, and I realize now their approach really gets you thinking of how you want your practice to run. Everything went amazingly well and we now document all of our visits using the EMR system. In less than two months our practice was open, and we were up and running using the EMR. We hit the ground running and we're still going strong."
Nova Scotia Physicians Set Sail with EMR
More and more Nova Scotian physicians, such as Dr. Andrew Wawer of North Sydney, N.S., are realizing the work/ life balance provided by participating in the provincial electronic medical record program. "Running a busy family practice in Sydney, I decided long ago that an EMR was the thing for me. I used another EMR for years, but decided to join the provincial team and now use the provincial EMR."
"I document all visits as I see my patients. It's a web-based application, so when I am away from the practice I can still stay on top of things. My family and I love to get away together on sailing vacations. The ability to get electronic lab and diagnostic imaging results and to access my patients' charts where and when I need them has really made a difference for patient outcomes. Having this EMR has really helped me to find that work/ life balance that we all want to have, without feeling like I am sacrificing the level of care and attention that my patients deserve."