The first system in Canada to provide paramedics with instant access to MedicAlert health records has been successfully launched in Nova Scotia. Within hours of the system going live, a paramedic in Halifax accessed potentially life-saving information en route to the hospital with a patient.

"Nova Scotia paramedics are highly trained individuals who do an exceptional job," said Health Minister Maureen MacDonald. "This system provides them with information that will help them do their job even better and I am proud that we are once again leading the way as the first province to have such a system in place."

MedicAlert Access-En Route in Nova Scotia allows paramedics to access the MedicAlert emergency health records from ambulances and include it as part of the electronic patient care record. The Siren ePCR software, developed by Medusa Medical Technologies, is used by paramedics to chart the care they provide to patients in the field.

Paramedics can now call up a patient's MedicAlert record, to obtain critical data such as allergy, medication, and physician information.

"The first of its kind in the world, this innovative solution gives paramedics early knowledge to make informed treatment and care decisions at the most crucial moments," said Scott Campbell, president and CEO, Medusa Medical Technologies Inc.

The system will help create more comprehensive and integrated information sharing between ambulatory care, emergency rooms, primary care physicians, and other sources of patient service. The model can also be used to provide other health care professionals, such as emergency room staff, with timely and secure access to MedicAlert information.

"One in five Canadians has a condition that should be known in an emergency situation," said Robert Ridge, president and CEO of MedicAlert. "This innovative program will let medical professionals hear Nova Scotians when they cannot speak for themselves."

There are more than 43,500 Nova Scotians enrolled with MedicAlert, a national charity. They are people of all ages with chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, asthma and allergies, medical implants and special needs.

"This is an excellent example of the type of innovative systems evolving from electronic health records," said Richard Alvarez, CEO of Canada Health Infoway. "The MedicAlert Access--En Route system is helping patients in crisis receive the right treatment sooner, resulting in better patient outcomes."

The MedicAlert Access-En Route in Nova Scotia project will cost about $625,000. The Department of Health will provide about $12,000 a year for ongoing support of the system. Canada Health Infoway is contributing $475,000, and MedicAlert is investing $150,000.

The Canadian MedicAlert Foundation is the largest membership-based registered charity in Canada with more than one million members. More information about MedicAlert is available online at WWW.MEDICALERT.CA/EN/INDEX.ASP.

Canada Health Infoway is an independent, not-for-profit organization funded by the federal government. It jointly invests with every province and territory to accelerate the development and adoption of electronic health record projects in Canada. More information about Canada Health Infoway is available online at WWW.INFOWAY-INFOROUTE.CA.

For more information, contact:

Brett Loney
Department of Health

donalee Moulton
Canadian MedicAlert Foundation

Dan Strasbourg
Canada Health Infoway