“And then one day you find ten years have got behind you. No one told you when to run. You missed the starting gun.” Pink Floyd – “Time”
As New Brunswick continues to buck the worldwide trend for interoperability between health care information systems it seems appropriate to pause for a moment and consider how long this battle has been going on, and give credit to the early adopters of electronic medical records for recognizing the importance of various electronic systems being able to talk to each other. Not only were early adopters first out of the blocks with new technology, in most cases they paid their own way, recognizing that improved handling of patient records would have important benefits for the their practice, and for the patients for whom they provide services.
Interoperability is the key to the establishment of a healthy EMR industry in New Brunswick.
Flash back to 2004, and this insightful report from the American College of Physicians:
In 2014, everywhere there is progress dismantling information silos in favour of the free exchange of health care information.
Everywhere but here.
The New Brunswick provincial EMR program is stuck in a rut, jealously guarding access to information in order to further the monopolistic ambitions of a single vendor. The proponents of the plan boast of the dozens of doctors who are said to have started to use their EMR product. They have been able to achieve a modicum of success in a variety of ways: 1) handing out taxpayer money to offset their clients’ cost, and 2) forging a secret deal with the Department of Health, in order to cripple the competition.
Does that make for fair competition?
I think not!
Even I could run a faster 100 metres than Usain Bolt, if his ankles were shackled.