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Electronic Health Records Rollout Begins in Quebec

Quebec Health Minister Yves Bolduc has announced that Quebec's electronic health records system rollout has begun. The government plans to have all hospitals, clinics, and laboratories across the province using electronic medical records, and be electronically linked to each other, by 2016. The electronic system, known as the Dossier de santé du Québec (DSQ), will be entirely compatible with ongoing initiatives to digitalize medical and clinical records.

Although the DSQ rollout is behind schedule, having originally launched in 2006 with the expectation of being in full operation by 2010, the move toward digitization has already started with doctors organized in clinics called family medicine groups (GMF) and is now growing with hospitals beginning to join the on-line community.

Currently, more than half of all family doctors in Quebec are storing patient information online in some electronic form; however, this statistic overstates actual progress. Existing electronic medical records in Quebec remain limited mostly to information about patients' registration with clinics, electronic transmission of laboratory tests requests, and electronic prescribing.

Quebec still lags behind other Canadian provinces and countries in the implementation of shared electronic health records in primary care practices, which allow for the storage and retrieval of patients' essential clinical information. According to a 2009 survey, only 20 percent of primary care doctors in Quebec report using electronic medical records (EMRs), compared to 38 percent in Canada overall and 46 percent in the United States.


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