November 13, 2007 | Creation of Canadian electronic health records (EHR) system could save billions in costs annually. President of Canada Health Infoway predicts huge reduction in need for diagnostic tests, fewer days in hospital.
Richard Alvarez, President of Canada Health Infoway, the country's planned health information sharing program -- said that more effective information management through the use of IT could reduce national health care costs by $6 billion to $7 billion Canadian, or about $6.24 billion to $7.29 billion, annually, Charlottetown Guardian reports.
The savings would come from reducing hospitalizations based on unnecessary drug interactions and a reduction in duplicate diagnostic tests, the Guardian reports.
The Canadian federal government plans to invest $1.6 billion Canadian, or about $1.66 billion, into Health Infoway and leverage another $1.6 billion Canadian, or about $1.66 billion, from provincial and territorial governments.
"This is a $10 billion (Canadian) project all told by the time it is completed and we expect that to happen over the next 10 years," Alvarez said.
Alvarez said the nationwide health IT program will "start with hospitals, then pharmacies and community clinics, and probably the last to come on board will be family doctors' offices" (Original article from Charlottetown Guardian, 11/13).