Primary Care Toolkit for Family Physicians
The College of Family Physicians of Canada
Electronic records are becoming essential to patient care within the primary care system. Adoption of electronic records, however, has varied across the country and much of this seems related to the availability of resources and supports. To be successful, it is essential that the primary care system provides resources to pay for hardware and software, and support for the time required to make the transition from a paper to paperless system as well as the extra training to use the new system. An additional component that warrants careful scrutiny and support by all jurisdictions wanting to promote the uptake of electronic records is that of leadership – a physician champion.
One of the barriers to the adoption of electronic records is the concern that more universal access to recorded patient information will also increase accountability for providers, (e.g. auditing power for governments, regional health authorities and even professional regulatory authorities). Family physicians therefore need assurance that privacy of information laws apply to providers as well as patients.
It is important to distinguish between the electronic medical record and the electronic health record as they are used in different ways. A common misconception is that the electronic medical record (EMR) is a subset of the electronic health record (EHR).