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ePRESCRIBING NOW AVAILABLE (Posted On: Tuesday, May 19, 2009)

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eHealth Ontario has launched Canada’s first ePrescribing Program.  In April 2009, as part of the Government of Ontario’s eHealth strategy, a pilot project has been funded for The Georgian Bay Family Health Team to work with local area retail pharmacies to allow electronic prescribing of medications.  This initiative is testing the viability of allowing prescriptions to be sent over encrypted internet lines from GBFHT Physicians’ offices directly to participating area pharmacies.


According to Dr. James Lane, local Family Physician, and the IT Physician Lead for the Georgian Bay Family Health Team, “Electronic prescribing will save both time and lives.”  The government is funding two sites in the province to test the practicality of developing e-Prescribing province-wide. Dr Lane has been working closely with Glen Thompson, from Watsons Guardian pharmacy in Stayner. Glenn has been instrumental in getting 100% participation in the e prescribe project. According to eHealth Ontario, “Electronic prescribing of medications has demonstrated improved patient safety through reduction of medication errors and adverse drug reactions.” 

Essentially what will happen is this:  a patient goes to see his or her Family Physician, and if a medication is to be prescribed, instead of the Physician handing the patient a piece of paper with the prescription, the Physician will send an electronic prescription to the patient’s pharmacy of choice.  The Pharmacist receives a secure, encrypted message advising that a prescription has been received, then checks the patient’s Electronic Medical Record (EMR) for possible contraindications, allergies and ensures that the medication is the most effective available for the condition indicated by the Physician.  The script is then filled and waiting when the patient arrives at the pharmacy.

17 pharmacies in Collingwood, Wasaga Beach, The Blue Mountains, and Clearview (including Stayner, Nottawa, Duntroon and Creemore) are participating with 24 family physicians and 4 nurse practitioners from the Georgian Bay Family Health Team.  Patient agreement to participate will be handled as part of the normal agreement process.

As one of only two sites chosen in Ontario (the other is in Sault Ste. Marie), the pilot project in the Georgian Bay region will help determine the most effective methods for future ePrescribing throughout the province and the country.

The e-Prescribing initiative is part of eHealth Ontario’s plan to automate patient data, including the establishment of Electronic Health Records for all Ontario patients.  The government’s plan to develop a province-wide database for all health records is well underway in the Georgian Bay area, where 35 physicians at 18 separate clinics are linked to a centralized database located at the Collingwood General and Marine Hospital. 

“The GBFHT, and all patients in the Georgian Bay area owe a huge debt to Dr. Lane who has been instrumental in the development of the centralized database and the creating of the e-Prescribing Project.  We are on the cutting-edge of healthcare data management thanks to Dr. Lanes extraordinary efforts” says Dr. Sohail Gandhi, Chair of the GBFHT’s Board of Directors.

Photo: Dr.James Lane (left), Honourable David Caplan, Ontario Minister for Health and Long Term Care (center) and Glen Thompson of Watson’s Guardian Pharmacy in Stayner (right) at the launch of e Prescribe press conference in Toronto.

If you would like more information about this topic, or please call the Georgian Bay Family Health Team at 705-444-5885 ext 25 or e-mail

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