Campaign puts public in the know about EHRs

October 2010   Comments

Paramedics wheel an unconscious patient into the emergency department. The attending physician asks, “Is he on any meds?” Nobody knows the answer. The physician and nurse look at each other and sigh.

Rewind. Paramedics wheel an unconscious patient into the emergency department. This time, when the physician asks the question, the nurse points to a screen with the patient’s electronic health record, which informs them that the patient is on blood thinners. They quickly order tests and begin treatment.

This scene is from a new public education campaign designed to increase the understanding of electronic health records and of their positive effects on the work of health-care providers. The campaign is being launched by Canada Health Infoway, a federally funded, not-for-profit corporation that was created in 2001 to lead the national development of an electronic health information system. Recent research has shown that Canadians, including the nursing community, have a limited awareness of the benefits of EHRs. With this in mind, Infoway is using “Knowing is better than not knowing” as the campaign slogan.

Through a website and nationally run print ads and television commercials, the campaign focuses on three of the main advantages of EHRs: providing vital health information to clinicians during an emergency, avoiding duplicate tests and preventing adverse drug events. Future campaign content will include stories of how EHRs have helped patients and providers. To learn more, visit knowingisbetter.ca.

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