Markham Family Health Team Technology

MFHT is a leader in adoption and usage of Information Technology and Computerized Medical Records

In 1999, MFP implemented electronic medical records (EMR) and archived their old paper charts. The robust and reliable EMR chosen by the group was from CLINICARE, a Canadian company based in Calgary. The change was part of a joint effort with Markham Stouffville Hospital to deliver patient’s test results to providers in the timeliest fashion.

Better patient care and better provision of medical services to the patient were key drivers of change. Physicians wanted timely electronic delivery of test results, computerized data trends and tables to assist in decision making and enhanced electronic prescribing all aimed at meeting patient care needs.

Patients of MHFT are quick to realize the benefits of this implementation of the EMR. Lab services provided by LifeLabs or MSH labs are electronically filed and available often within 24 hours of sample collection. MSH diagnostic imaging reports (X-rays, ultrasounds etc) are also filed in the patients EMR within hours of the test being performed. Furthermore, providers in the office can access the digital images of X-rays done at MSH and discuss them with the patient.

In 2006, the Commonwealth Fund report found Canada lagging in adoption of EMR when compared to seven other developed countries

The Netherlands, for example, found a 98% uptake of EMR by family doctors compared to Canada at 23%. The industry is aware that having an EMR is not the same as using it. When the Commonwealth Fund Report dug deeper they found that of the Netherlands users of EMR, 59% used 7 or more clinical features. Similarly, usage of the EMR in Canada dropped to 8%.

In the summer of 2007, the Netherlands sent 30 delegates to study EMR in Canada. One of their site visits was to Markham Family Physicians. What we afforded our guests from the Netherlands was an opportunity to see complete integration of an EMR into a medical practice where the environment is Chartless. EMR – we have and use it fully!

The future will see many changes in the medical office application of Information Technology. We are confident that if we keep sight of our patients needs, and employ the right technology to meet those needs, then our patients will be well served.