E-records system criticism rebuffed by N.B. health minister
Medical society surprised by announcement only 950 doctors eligible to purchase new system
New Brunswick's Health Minister Ted Flemming is rejecting criticisms from the New Brunswick Medical Society over its new electronic medical record system.
Only 240 doctors have signed up for the new system, which the society is promoting through a private company. The original goal was to have 500 of the province's 1,600 doctors signed up by Dec. 31.
On Tuesday, the society said it was surprised when the province declared only 950 of doctors are eligible to purchase the system.
The society should have done its homework beforehand, says Flemming.
"Look, if you want to go into business, then you better know your market. And if you want to go into business and be a stand-alone organization, you should know, and have your ducks lined up in the water in advance," said Flemming.
Flemming says he is, in his words, "totally ready" to talk to the society about how he can help.
He'd be willing to amend a contract that gives the society's system exclusive rights, he says.
The system, called Valente, costs about $24,000 per doctor.
The province covers about $4,000, the doctors pay $8,000 and the federal government's arm's-length agency, Canada Health Infoway, covers the remaider.
Some doctors have complained they've already installed their own e-record software and they don't want to spend $8,000 buying another system.
Doctors now have until March 31 to sign up for the system before the subsidies expire.