Quebec's Electronic Records Plan A 'Disaster,' Barrette Says

Charlie Fidelman | Montreal Gazette | November 21, 2014

As the provincial health department struggles to save $220 million under major health reform, its digital revolution has been a costly fiasco, conceded Quebec Health Minister Gaétan Barrette.

E-health was initially rolled out as a paperless, integrated patient-care system, able to link at a click of a button hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, laboratories and doctors’ offices. But nearly 15 years and $1.6 billion dollars later, Quebec’s electronic medical records remains a patchwork of digital applications that often do not communicate with one another.

“It’s disheartening,” Barrette said of the Dossier Santé Québec during an interview with the Montreal Gazette earlier this week. Conceding that the current e-health is a “disaster” and “not what it should be,” Barrette said it should be thrown out and revamped from scratch.

But to do so would add another “billion dollars” to the cost, Barrette said, money he does not have. Like Bill 10, Dossier Santé Québec was supposed to streamline care. Electronic health records, in theory, could be shared among health professionals — hospital records, medical histories, medication and allergies, laboratory test results, radiology images, and etc...