Electronic health files next year in Townships
Early next year, when the bugs are ironed out and all 62 pharmacies in the Townships are online, you will be able to transfer your prescriptions to any of them, renew them at any of them or get them in an emergency if you are travelling. This aspect of the new Dossier de Santé du Québec, the Quebec Electronic Health File, will surely be the most visible for all those who will accept to be part of it; that will probably be most of us even though it is an opting out scheme.
But for your doctor, the hospital that you visit and your pharmacist, it will be
a new era. Let’s get back to your prescriptions; from now on, they will be filled electronically. Pharmacists are a lot more than pill counters. Those years of university were not in math but in a specialized field of medicine. With the new system they will be able to see all the medication that you are taking and since their field requires them to know not only these pills but also their interactions, he or she will be able to spot right away the problems that can happen when they mix together.
Your doctor will also have a better view of what ails you; all of the recent tests that you took at the hospital will be there on his computer screen. Furthermore, he will have been able to give you an appointment much faster because the new system will handle a lot of the mundane administrative tasks that he and his staff handles now. Before meeting you, he will have all that he needs to conduct a much better consultation.
So the Health Minister, Doctor Yves Bolduc, had every reason to be smiling Monday when he announced the starting date for the DSQ in the Townships: late October. He couldn’t help mention the pioneering work of the Université de Sherbrooke and the CHUS with Arianne, the computerized system in place for a couple of years.
Questions from the press abounded on the privacy of the DSQ. For this newspaper, more aware of the ramifications of having electronic data stored in the United States, our questions to Richard Audet of the RAMQ, Quebec’s Health Insurance Board, were answered even before they were asked in full: “No data will reside outside of Quebec, physically or electronically. And my organisation is proud of its security that is second to none.”
The program’s total cost is in the half a billion dollar range and it should be operational province wide in 2014. While no estimate of the true savings are available yet, the programs are too young to really gauge them, they should repay any cost associated within a couple of years.
Orford MNA Pierre Reid, who when he was Rector of Université de Sherbrooke was involved in the Arianne system, looks on at ministers Monique Gagnon-Tremblay and Yves Bolduc.