IBM Delivers Initial Phase of Canada’s First Province-Wide Electronic Health Record System

IBM announced the first stage of a $22.5 million project to create an electronic healthcare records (EHR) system for the province of Manitoba has gone live, providing clinicians with unprecedented access to their patients’ lab results, dispensed drug records and immunization histories, in seconds.

EChart Manitoba, the first province-wide EHR system in Canada, enables the secure sharing of information about a patient’s health to authorized healthcare professionals across Manitoba. With a single secure logon from any computer, doctors, nurses and other authorized healthcare workers can quickly search more than 30 million records for comprehensive data on their patients.

EChart Manitoba compiles a variety of patient data from multiple sources such as labs, pharmacies, and Manitoba’s immunization system. Previously these data were spread throughout many hospitals, clinics and other institutions across the province, making it difficult for clinicians to assemble vital information needed to make critical decisions. The next release of the project will be completed by December 2011, and will include diagnostic imaging and additional clinical information.

"Healthcare costs are rising. In 2010, Canada spent $192 billion, and left unaddressed, by 2017 healthcare and education will consume entire provincial government budgets," says Giovanni Vatieri, IBM’s health practice leader. "In response, forward-looking healthcare organizations such as Manitoba’s are moving toward IT-enabled care and delivery models. Shifting from paper to electronic medical records will have a profound impact on the efficiency and delivery of quality medical care.

Under an agreement reached in 2009, IBM provided project management, change management, and analysis and design services for the first stage of the project. IBM managed a consortium of sub-contractors including dbMotion which provided the software platform which enables healthcare organizations to access and share disparate data. As well, IBM’s Initiate software helps eliminate duplicate records within the system.

EChart improves continuity of care for Manitoba’s more than 1,000,000 patients, regardless of where in the province they access care, by ensuring a secure and private lifetime record of key health history and care is available electronically to authorized healthcare providers anywhere, anytime. This will reduce the chance of medication errors, duplication of treatments and unnecessary medical testing – issues that cost healthcare systems around the world billions each year.

About IBM

IBM is creating a smarter, more connected healthcare system that can deliver better care with fewer mistakes, predicts and prevents diseases, and empowers people to make better choices. This includes integrating data so doctors, patients and insurers can share information seamlessly and efficiently. IBM also helps clients apply advanced analytics to improve medical research, diagnosis and treatment in order to improve patient care and help reduce healthcare costs. For more information about IBM, visit