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Stories by Sherene Chen-See

Serving the national health

Imagine a system where all public health records are kept in one central database that can be accessed by a multitude of authorized health-care providers at any given time. Isolated outbreaks of a serious disease could be tracked in real time to determine common links between cases. Public health professionals could use the data to make rapid interventions, thereby preventing a localized health concern from getting out of hand. And in these days of bioterrorism fears and increasingly dangerous bacterial outbreaks, the technology could become an invaluable tool.
The Canadian Public Health Information System (PHIS) aims to do all of this and more. PHIS is an automated, Web-enabled, integrated, secure system that allows access to client records by many public health providers. The system supports public health tracking, interventions, case management, communicable disease surveillance, sharing of immunization information, and, eventually, inspection reports. This database could form the public health component of an overall "electronic health record," which would make each patient's critical health information available in real time, anywhere in Canada.

Written by Sherene Chen-See10 July 03 22:00