Federal Budget Boosts Canada's EMR Backbone
* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.
OTTAWA, ONTARIO, Jan 27 (MARKET WIRE) -- The 2009 Federal Budget and its focus on economic stimulus will provide some collateral support for improving the health of Canadians by accelerating implementation of electronic medical records (EMRs) across the country. The federal investment of $500 million to Canada Health Infoway to encourage greater use of electronic health records will help make that happen. In CMA's prebudget submission to Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, the CMA identified accelerating EMR development as a key initiative that could provide not only economic stimulus, but also health stimulus for Canadians. CMA research found that a $225-million federal investment, matched by provincial-territorial funds, would create 5000 new jobs over the next 2 years. Today's announcement, rightly aimed at supporting the front lines of health care, will lead to better, more efficient care and will help Canada shake off its laggard status in terms of the use of EMRs compared to other countries. Notwithstanding the good news concerning support for information technology, the physicians of Canada are concerned that the federal government still has not fulfilled its election commitment to address Canada's doctor shortage. The CMA had urged the government to immediately fund 50 additional postgraduate training positions. Almost 5 million Canadians do not have a family doctor, and all too often patients are forced to wait for specialist care due to physician shortages. Today's budget was a missed opportunity to announce targeted steps to address Canada's doctor shortage and eventually realize our goal to be self-sufficient in terms of producing enough physicians to meet the health care needs of our citizens. Canada's doctors hope the government will yet act on their election promise. Finally, given the dire economic circumstances affecting countries around the world, the Canadian Medical Association is not surprised that today's budget focused primarily on measures to stimulate the economy. Going forward, however, we must remember that the first wealth is health. Initiatives announced today aimed at improving the health of Canada's aboriginal population are most welcome. The physicians of Canada continue to urge the federal government to use all available policy levers at its disposal to support the health of Canadians and ensure they can get timely access to quality health care services. Dr. Robert Ouellet President Canadian Medical Association Contacts: Canadian Medical Association Lucie Boileau Media Relations Manager 800-663-7336 or 613 731-8610 ext. 1266 cell. 613-447-0866 Copyright 2009, Market Wire, All rights reserved. -0-
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