The Agence de la sante et des services sociaux de Montreal has signed a five-year, C$3.6 million deal with Artefact Informatique, the health division of LGS Group Inc., an IBM (NYSE: IBM) company – the first of its kind in Canada – to build a registry for digital medical images based on the Canada-wide Cross-enterprise Document Sharing (XDS) standard.
With the new tool, Quebec physicians will have quick electronic access to the millions of X-rays, MRIs and other medical images stored annually in three secure digital imaging repositories across the province.
"The registry will enable Quebec family doctors to better serve their patients," said Raymond Carrier, project manager, ministere de la Sante et des Services sociaux du Quebec. "Medical professionals can search for, access and view digital images from their offices, regardless of where or how originals are stored. This is the final step that will lead to a comprehensive medical imaging domain solution as part of the Quebec EHR plan."
To use the tool, doctors will access IBM's Cross-enterprise Document Sharing Integration (XDS-I) registry to view a list of all images on file for their patient. By clicking on an item, the IBM solution will provide a link or point to wherever the images are stored, in one of three digital imaging repositories the province maintains.
Radiologists will also be able to share the workload by gaining access to remote images. This will accelerate diagnosis in regions where radiologists are in short supply.
The new registry is expected to be available in 2010. Currently, family physicians in Quebec have no electronic access to digital images for their patients, and instead must source the physical X-ray or image itself directly from the radiologist – images that can go missing in transit or not arrive at all.
The registry conforms to the XDS-I Profile being promoted by Canada Health Infoway. Since it is based on open industry standards, it is compatible with other Electronic Health Record (EHR) components. Using open standards for EHR will allow for quicker integration and adoption of a system that will ultimately lead to better decision-making for clinicians and better healthcare for patients.
"Quebec is the first province to adopt the XDS-I standard as a province-wide solution for medical images," said Louise Beauchesne, executive regional director for Canada Health Infoway, Quebec region. "It is the goal of Canada Health Infoway to ensure that secure, remote access to electronic health records leads to better healthcare for Canadians."
Last year, IBM announced the creation of a Centre of Excellence at Artefact Informatique to facilitate the sharing of critical medical documents between physicians, clinics and hospitals.
"IBM Canada has worldwide responsibility for the development and support of this industry-leading registry that is being implemented in the Province of Quebec," said Barry Burk, vice president, Healthcare Industry, IBM Canada. "Under Diane Bouchard's leadership, the Artefact Informatique team is deploying this solution which will enable better access to information and improved patient care."
As the exclusive global provider of the solution, Artefact Informatique, a division of LGS Group Inc., an IBM company, is responsible for the evolution of the product as well as the customization, support and integration services. In collaboration with IBM researchers, Artefact Informatique developed the tool that is the core of this IT solution chosen by the Quebec government.
For more information about the ministere de la Sante et des Services sociaux, please visit www.msss.gouv.qc.ca.
For more information about the Agence de la sante et des services sociaux de Montreal, please visit www.santemontreal.qc.ca.
For more information about IBM Healthcare, visit www.ibm.com/industries/healthcare.