MD Physician Services, a CMA company, has offered free licences for their popular EMR (electronic medical records) - MD PS Suite, to Canadian medical schools across the country.
"We believe that by providing this software as an essential management tool it will be excellent training opportunity for students, faculty and staff," says Brian Peters, CEO of MD Physician Services. To date this program has been piloted at Memorial and Western and been well-received.
A joint letter, from the CMA and MD Physician Services, was sent to deans across the country inviting schools to take the free EMR licenses and encourage future physicians to have access to the technology and embrace the changing way of practicing medicine.
The letter to deans says that paper charts will eventually be a relic in doctors' offices, especially because of the tech-savvy generation of new medical students. "As the e-health agenda unfolds in Canada," the letter added, "medical practices will diminish their use of paper charts and care will be increasingly managed via the EMR - that is why two medical schools have already incorporated the CMA's EMR into their undergraduate programs."
Canadian physicians have been much slower to adopt the EMR than those in many other countries - 99% of MDs in the Netherlands now use them, as do more than 90% of doctors in Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Canada clearly lags. One estimate of EMR use here, drawn from the 2007 National Physician Survey of more than 19,000 physicians, is that 26.2% of MDs now use them. More recently, a 2009 Commonwealth Fund survey found that 37% of Canadian primary care physicians now use "basic" EMRs, but only 14% are using advanced multifunction, high capacity models.