PCN teamwork improves communication through EMR

July 12, 2012

In the heart of Canada’s oil industry, 28 independent physicians are tapping into another precious resource – teamwork.

The physicians are behind the Wood Buffalo Primary Care Network (WBPCN), a team approach that offers comprehensive primary care services and programs to patients within the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, including the community of Fort McMurray.

It is a successful partnership, and one in which the Physician Office System Program (POSP) – the provincial program that makes funding and support available to eligible physicians to enable them to adopt electronic medical records (EMRs) – has played an important role.

The booming area struggled to keep practicing physicians in town a few years ago. Those who stayed generally set up their own practices, independent of fellow physicians.

The physicians did, however, recognize the value of teamwork that could be created through a primary care network, says Tarryn Holder, WBPCN coordinator. Today, all local physicians participate in the WBPCN interdisciplinary team along with dietitians, pharmacists and other health care professionals.

An EMR was a logical early step. “The WBPCN wanted to stay abreast of technology and the benefits that can be realized through an EMR solution.”

Most WBPCN physicians voted for an EMR solution with TELUS Physician Solutions (formerly Wolf Medical Systems), one of Alberta’s EMR vendors as many were on this EMR in their own clinics. However, a few clinics use Med Access, another one of Alberta’s qualified service providers (EMR vendors) and Ms Holder, who is familiar with both TELUS Physician Solutions and Med Access, says having two separate EMR solutions in place with the WBPCN’s physicians has not been an issue.

(This is the first part in a series on the Wood Buffalo Primary Care Network’s EMR.)

Read more of this story on the POSP website.



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