Wolf Medical Systems Corporation

Wolf Medical Systems Corporation

January 16, 2007 08:00 ET

Wolf Medical Systems Announces Successful Launch of Primary Care IT Project in Province of Newfoundland and Labrador

Project Team Focuses on Programs to Enhance Physician, Staff, and Patient Adoption with Forward Thinking EMR Implementation Strategy

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(CCNMatthews - Jan. 16, 2007) - Wolf Medical Systems, a leading national provider of electronic medical records (EMR) software for physician offices and medical clinics across Canada, today announced that the Practise Management/Electronic Medical Record Urban Pilot Project, part of the Primary Health Care Enhanced Information Technology Project in Newfoundland and Labrador is up and running, providing 27 physicians on four sites plus clinic staff and dozens of locums and residents access to the software. These four clinics in St. John's were fully trained and operational on the Wolf electronic medical record software on schedule in late November and December; they now have a state-of-the-art EMR suite.

Physician's Experience with EMR

Dr. Percy Crocker, a physician with the Newfoundland Drive Family Practice, one of four installed clinics, is already pleased with the new system. The driving force for the EMR system at the Newfoundland Drive clinic was the need to better manage their over 15,000 patient charts; with many charts out in circulation at any one time the staff were forever looking for charts and engaged in filing.

Another key driver to adopting the EMR for the Newfoundland Drive clinic was the potential to better manage patients with chronic diseases. He explained, "We were impressed during the vendor selection process with the work that Wolf has been doing with chronic disease management in British Columbia; we're now very keen to begin using the CDM tools in the Wolf system to help us offer more preventative care to our patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension."

Dr. Crocker commented that he was pleasantly surprised that he was able to go from writing encounter notes in the charts to entering them into an electronic system with minimal disruption in the normal work pattern. He also commented that front office staff seem comfortable with the scheduling software, and after some fine-tuning the group has adapted the system's workflow to handle some of their unique office processes such as generating referral letters.

Dr. Crocker shared that he had been concerned at the onset that, with a computer in the mix, there may be some disruption to the normal doctor-patient encounter; however, having asked a few patients their thoughts on the new system he found that they didn't notice any difference in the office encounter dynamics. Dr. Crocker concluded, "It's early in the game, but I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly I was able to go from the old way of doing things to the new way with relative ease; it certainly wasn't painless but it wasn't as painful as I thought it was going to be."

Dr. Robert Miller is Academic Chair of the Family Practice Program at Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) and a General Practitioner (GP) at the Family Practice Clinic at MUN. The clinic employs eight full time GPs, has between four and six residents on staff on a weekly basis, and seven office staff. It's a complex teaching practice, with residents, students and full time physicians working together to deliver a high level of patient care.

The primary goals of the EMR for the team at MUN Family Practice are related to their role as the province's GP training program within MUNs Department of Medicine. Explained Dr. Miller, "If we don't have an EMR then we're not turning out trained physicians." Second, a major component of their work involves generating and analyzing research data. Conducting thorough medical audits and generating research data was almost impossible in an entirely paper-based practice. "Having an EMR puts us way ahead of where we were," explained Dr. Miller. Finally, as a teaching program, MUN Family Practice is required to provide documentation to accreditors that the residents who work there have fulfilled the terms of their training. With an EMR it will much easier to obtain the kind of data that accreditors are now demanding of teaching facilities such as MUN Family Practice.

Because residents come and go and the physicians are all academic physicians working in MUN's Faculty of Medicine, patients can be seen by a variety of people throughout the course of their care; lab tests are often ordered by one physician and reviewed by another. "We look forward to having electronic labs and diagnostic reports that will be linked directly to the patient's record - a goal for Spring 2007 - which will mean there is no possibility of missing lab results or reports."

Physicians are still getting used to the new system; all but one of the physicians were completely new to EMR. Many long-time physicians are still learning to adapt to the new way of recording their encounter notes. Dr. Miller noted that the residents, however, were immediately so at ease with the software that some "were two steps ahead of the trainers." He did add, however, that in the beginning stages of using the EMR it "doesn't take more time, it just takes different time;" he expects that time will be reduced as people become more comfortable with using the programs.

Immediate plans at MUN Family Practice include continuing to get more comfortable with the day-to-day use of the software; soon they plan to begin working with their research coordinator to establish data entry protocols for chronic disease and pre-natal encounters, to name a few, so that when they are ready to start generating research data they can find the information they need.

"The continued progress in this pilot project is yet another important step towards narrowing the gap in the development of a comprehensive provincial Electronic Health Record in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador," explained Mike Barron, CEO of the Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Health Information, the organization that is coordinating the project. The Centre assists individuals, communities, health service providers and policy makers at federal, provincial and regional levels in making informed decisions to enhance the health and well-being of persons in the province by providing a comprehensive province-wide information system.

He continued, "Based on the results of this EMR pilot, the group expects to provide insight and direction into formulating best practices for the successful development of an EMR plan for the province."

The next milestones for the project include the interface between the clinics and the Unique Personal Identifier/Client Registry, a database that contains patient, client, and resident demographic information, and Meditech, the hospital clinical information system. The latter will allow physicians in the involved clinics to receive laboratory reports and diagnostic imagining reports. This is expected to be implemented in Spring 2007.

Project Background

This project is a joint provincial EMR initiative of Newfoundland and Labrador's Department of Health and Community Services, the Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Health Information, Eastern Health, and the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association.

The Primary Health Care Enhanced Information Technology Project formed an EMR Steering Committee at the outset of the initiative, whose role has been to share information about the project and formulate an EMR implementation plan. They also adopted a three-pronged approach to the successful roll out of the EMR, including a communications campaign for physicians and clinic staff, detailed training for each of the four locations to train the new EMR users, the majority of whom had never used EMR software before, and a proactive patient communications strategy in each clinic to help patients understand why the clinics were moving from the familiar paper chart to an electronic medical record.

With the addition of this pilot project, Wolf Medical Systems now has physician users from coast-to-coast-to-coast, extending from British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, New Brunswick, the Northwest Territories and Newfoundland and Labrador.

About Wolf Medical Systems

Wolf Medical Systems is a leading national provider of electronic medical records (EMR) software for physician offices and medical clinics across Canada. Founded in 1998, the company has more than 340 installed sites across Canada and more than 1200 physician users nationwide. Wolf's EMR software includes a complete set of physician-designed applications that automate the unique processes of billing, scheduling, workflow planning, chronic disease management and clinical practice for physician offices and medical clinics within the context of each province's unique regulatory environments. Wolf software works the way physicians and medical personnel work, helping them automate manual processes, reduce costs, increase productivity and efficiency, and improve the quality of patient care. Wolf is committed to elevating the standard for patient care in Canada through the adoption of EMR. For more information on Wolf Medical Systems, visit www.wolfmedical.com.

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