New innovative electronic medical record project to launch in 14 area First Nations

From left, Roger Beaudin Giiwednong Health Link steering committee member, Julie Morin, steering committee member, Mary Jo Wabano, steering committee member and Grand Council Chief Pat Mahdahbee at the official Giiwednong Health Link launch last week.  

ONTARIO—Giiwednong Health Link (GHL) has launched a new innovative electronic medical record (EMR) project to enhance the delivery of health care in its 14 member First Nations located along the North Shore and throughout Manitoulin Island.

“The EMR will ensure First Nations have access to better and more timely health information to improve the health of its members and communities overall,” states a GHL press release. “With the introduction of the EMR, First Nations will have the capacity and expertise to deliver digital health in their own communities. Their initiative also creates seven new jobs in the community.”

“The health and well-being of our community members has always been our highest priority and implementing an integrated EMR across the GHL is a momentous step,” said Roger Beaudin, GHL steering committee member and M’Chigeeng Health Centre department manager. “Our commitment to providing our people with the best quality of health care using real time digital health information is becoming a reality.”

“This program is going to improve the quality of care for our patients,” added Mr. Beaudin. “Currently, if someone comes to the health clinic for metal health, long-term care etc. it is all different files, with the EMR system, all the patient information will be available on one chart.”

Mr. Beaudin said it will also make transition for patients between the 14 First Nation medical centres easier with the transfer of records, given the patient’s consent.

“The GHL digital health program represents a major step forward in enhancing health services delivery to improve First Nations health outcomes and to ensure they are on par with provincial and national outcomes,” added Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee, chairperson of the Ontario Chiefs Committee on Health. “We are very pleased that we have received the support and funding of Health Canada to launch this very important program.”

The GHL will deploy a cloud-based EMR solution from Nightingle Informatix for their EMR and practice management. An OntarioMD certified product, the state-of-the-art technology allows GHL to implement the EMR without the need to expensive technology infrastructure in the communities.

The Nahndahweh Tchigehgamig Wikwemikong Health Centre is the pilot for this program and will launch the ERM in January 2016.

The 14 other locations will follow, implementing the program as of April 2016 and fully operational by March 2017.

The Giiwednong Health Link (GHL) digital health journey began in 2007 with the help of Health Canada and the province of Ontario when it started to develop a strategic vision for eHealth, now referred to as digital health. GHL’s vision is to improve the health and well‐being of its members through leveraging state‐of‐the‐practice provincially certified digital health solutions; and, by developing innovative First Nations digital health models, shared services, implementation capacity and support expertise. The 14 First Nations are based within two Tribal Council areas: Mamaweswen and North Shore Tribal Council (NSTC) and the United Chiefs and Councils of Mnidoo Mnising (UCCMM). The participating First Nations are geographically dispersed along the north shore of Lake Huron between Sault Ste. Marie and Whitefish Lake outside of Sudbury and throughout Manitoulin Island.