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Plans for eHealth take a step forward

The Department of Health and Social Services is about to buy software that will form a big part of the territory’s new eHealth system.

The Department of Health and Social Services is about to buy software that will form a big part of the territory’s new eHealth system.

The Drug Information System will create “a comprehensive medication history for all patients,” said Stewart Ingram, the project’s director. It’s supposed to be up and running by March 2017.

The new system would help pharmacists and doctors make sure patients haven’t been given drugs that badly react with other medications they are taking, the department says.

It would also help prevent drug addicts from going to different doctors and pharmacies to get multiple prescriptions filled.

“The pharmacy can go in there and see that this prescription has already been filled very recently,” said Birgitte Hunter, assistant deputy minister of corporate services.

“It’s basically patient safety, that’s the reason for it.”

The new system would track any new data once it goes online, but old health records would not be included.

In 2013, the department put out a request for proposals looking for the software to run the drug system and only got one response.

Of the eight jurisdictions in Canada that use an electronic drug information system, five use custom programs they built themselves, Hunter said. The other three are using a system by Maximus Canada Services Inc.

The Yukon intends to award the contract to Maximus if no other company comes forward by July 23.

The government is willing to spend up to $3 million for this piece of the puzzle, Hunter said.

The territory’s eHealth plan comes in three parts.

Along with the drug information system, the Yukon will also use a client registry to track demographics, such as the age and gender of residents. The territory is also working on a laboratory link with

British Columbia to get lab results more quickly.

The Yukon’s Health Information Privacy and Management Act has already been passed and the regulations to go with that act are being worked on, she said.

All three parts of the eHealth program will cost $10 million. Federal money is slated to cover $6 million of that through the Canada Health Infoway program.

To get that federal money, Yukon needs to have its systems up and running by March 31, 2017. The department has a self-imposed deadline of December 2016, to give a little breathing room.

“Things are going very well. We’ve got a very experienced project team. The timeframe is a little tight but very doable so we’re very confident,” Stewart said.

The plan also involves representatives from the Canadian Medical Association, the Yukon Medical Association, Yukon Nurses Association, Yukon Pharmacists Association and the Council of Yukon First Nations.

Contact Ashley Joannou at