Ted Flemming - custom

Only 34 doctors are currently using the e-records system, says Health Minister Ted Flemming. (CBC)

New Brunswick's Health Minister Ted Flemming has raised the possibility of taking over a troubled electronic medical record system for doctors.

There's a clause in the province's agreement with the New Brunswick Medical Society that allows the government to step in, said Flemming.

The e-record system is being marketed and sold to the doctors by Velante, a company owned by the society and a private information technology company called Accreon.

The Velante system is the only one allowed to interact seamlessly with provincial hospital data.

And the medical society says it's locked into its exclusive deal to sell the Velante system.

Many doctors have complained they want to be able to use other record systems.

Only 240 of 950 eligible doctors have signed up for Velante, one month ahead of the March 31 deadline to receive government subsidies.

The medical society says one problem is that the health department has declared as many as 600 physicians ineligible, because they work in hospital settings, and don't require the software to access provincial electronic health records.

Of the 240 doctors who have signed up for the system, only 34 doctors are using it, said Flemming.

Flemming said if low enrolment in the e-record system remains a problem for the society, the province may end up taking over the software.