Health privacy laws coming to Yukon

The Yukon could see new health privacy legislation this fall, according to a spokesperson for Health and Social Services. New laws for protecting patient information are “ready to go,” said Pat Living.

The Yukon could see new health privacy legislation this fall, according to a spokesperson for Health and Social Services.

New laws for protecting patient information are “ready to go,” said Pat Living.

Getting those rules in place is a necessary step towards creating an electronic health system for the territory, she said.

“If you have this kind of system where information is being held by multiple different players and being shared by multiple different players, there has to be a mechanism for protecting that information, and that people are using it appropriately.”

Yukon doctors and pharmacists have been calling for electronic tracking of prescribed medications for years.

The database would keep track of prescriptions filled by patients and would be accessible to health-care professionals across the territory.

A system like that would help pharmacists avoid medication conflicts and errors, said Josianne Gauthier, president of the Yukon Pharmacy Association.

“Let’s say a patient goes to the emergency department or a walk in clinic, gets a prescription for an antibiotic, and fills this prescription in the pharmacy, other than his and her regular pharmacy,” said Gauthier.

“Currently, there’s no way for the pharmacist to verify if the new medication conflicts with the patients other medications. Having a drug profile that is available online, 24/7, will certainly facilitate the work of the pharmacist.”

The association has been asking the territorial government to implement this for a few years, she said.

“Most other jurisdictions in Canada and in other countries have an electronic health record, and it has shown to be highly beneficial to pharmacists, physicians and other health-care providers.”

Dr. Rao Tadepalli, president of the Yukon Medical Association, said that the issue of electronic health records has been on the agenda for at least eight years.

Patients often assume that the doctor has their full medical history in front of them, when that is often not true, he said.

“At the end of the day we depend on you to tell us if you’ve taken the medication. There’s a lot of history missing.”

Living said that establishing a prescription tracking system is only one part of a much larger project to bring electronic health records to the Yukon.

“It’s not as easy as just setting up a tracking system for one program. There are a number of other things that have to come into place before we can even look at that.”

One complicating factor is that all the groups who might need access to health records are currently all working with different systems, she said.

And it’s not just doctors and pharmacists that deal with prescription medications, said Living. Dentists and some nurses, too, have limited powers to prescribe.

“How do we make everything work together?”

The government has been looking at this seriously for a while, but it’s not as simple as it might seem, said Living.

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at jronson@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Whitehorse and Carcross will be among seven northern communities to have unlimited internet options beginning Dec. 1. (Yukon News file)
Unlimited internet for some available Dec. 1

Whitehorse and Carcross will be among seven northern communities to have unlimited… Continue reading

Willow Brewster, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, holds a swab used for the COVID-19 test moments before conducting a test with it on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
An inside look at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre

As the active COVID-19 case count grew last week, so too did… Continue reading

Conservation officers search for a black bear in the Riverdale area in Whitehorse on Sept. 17. The Department of Environment intends to purchase 20 semi-automatic AR-10 rifles, despite the inclusion of the weapons in a recently released ban introduced by the federal government, for peace officers, such as conservation officers. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Environment Minister defends purchase of AR-10 rifles for conservation officers

The federal list of banned firearms includes an exception for peace officers

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The K-shaped economic recovery and what Yukoners can do about it

It looks like COVID-19 will play the role of Grinch this holiday… Continue reading

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Colin McDowell, the director of land management for the Yukon government, pulls lottery tickets at random during a Whistle Bend property lottery in Whitehorse on Sept. 9, 2019. A large amount of lots are becoming available via lottery in Whistle Bend as the neighbourhood enters phase five of development. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Lottery for more than 250 new Whistle Bend lots planned for January 2021

Eight commercial lots are being tendered in additional to residential plots

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21. The Canada Border Services Agency announced Nov. 26 that they have laid charges against six people, including one Government of Yukon employee, connected to immigration fraud that involved forged Yukon government documents. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Charges laid in immigration fraud scheme, warrant out for former Yukon government employee

Permanent residency applications were submitted with fake Yukon government documents

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Karen Wenkebach has been appointed as a judge for the Yukon Supreme Court. (Yukon News file)
New justice appointed

Karen Wenckebach has been appointed as a judge for the Supreme Court… Continue reading

Catherine Constable, the city’s manager of legislative services, speaks at a council and senior management (CASM) meeting about CASM policy in Whitehorse on June 13, 2019. Constable highlighted research showing many municipalities require a lengthy notice period before a delegate can be added to the agenda of a council meeting. Under the current Whitehorse procedures bylaw, residents wanting to register as delegates are asked to do so by 11 a.m. on the Friday ahead of the council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Changes continue to be contemplated for procedures bylaw

Registration deadline may be altered for delegates

Cody Pederson of the CA Storm walks around LJ’s Sabres player Clay Plume during the ‘A’ division final of the 2019 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28 in Whitehorse next year, was officially cancelled on Nov. 24 in a press release from organizers. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28… Continue reading

Most Read