Whitehorse Daily Star

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Stephen Samis

Aging patient data system in for upgrade

The Yukon government confirmed this morning there will be just over $7 million dedicated to upgrading the territory’s outdated Meditech system.

By Palak Mangat on January 30, 2019

The Yukon government confirmed this morning there will be just over $7 million dedicated to upgrading the territory’s outdated Meditech system.

The announcement was made this morning before an estimated 150 people attending the latest Aging in Place Forum. The event is taking place all day at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre.

The Meditech system is used in Whitehorse General Hospital, and the changes will take up to two years to fully phase in.

Stephen Samis is the deputy minister of the Department of Health and Social Services (HSS). He verified his department has been given the green light to take $7.2 million out of the Territorial Health Investment Fund (THIF) for the upgrade to the patient data system.

The money is provided to the territory from Ottawa, to help in innovation and facilitating innovations in the HSS system.

The department, in working with the Yukon Hospital Corp. (YHC), will now undergo work with the company on how to best tie in the other systems (like the drug information and laboratory information system).

“They (YHC) will be contracting that very quickly, so over about the next 24 months, we will be working very hard with the (Yukon) hospital corporation to upgrade their Meditech program,” Samis told the forum.

He explained that the health information system currently used in the hospital, which carries things like patient and diagnostic data, works, but is very outdated.

“We have an old system right now and what we’re trying to do is bring our Meditech system right up to the highest standard,” Samis said.

Likening it to an operating system update that some may be more used to seeing on their cellphones, he added it’s no secret that the existing technology is aging – making this a welcome addition.

“We haven’t had a reboot to that operating system for years and years and years,” he noted. “Physicians know it, patients know it, providers know it.”

He estimated the full phasing-in of the new tech system will take between 18 and 24 months, with it being fully brought in within that two-year time period.

Meanwhile, Ottawa’s budget for 2017 provided a total of $108 million over four years to renew the THIF to the territories, $25.6 million of which would flow into the Yukon.

A release issued last July noted the remainder, $28.4 million and $54 million, would go toward the N.W.T. and Nunavut respectively.

Dr. Brendan Hanley, the Yukon’s medical officer of health, also addressed the delegates this morning, touching on more money to pare the lengthy waiting list for cataracts surgery, among other subjects.

A YHC official was set to address the issue of seniors and housing early this afternoon.

See more coverage of the forum in Thursday’s Star.

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