A Halifax doctor is calling on the province to purchase a new piece of software that combines information about patient symptoms with environmental risk factors where they live.
The software, called Geomatic Information Systems, could warn patients of potential risks - such as high radon levels - and help doctors identify possible causes for symptoms.
Corey Nelson, an accountant manager for ESRI Canada, a company providing geographic information system solutions, said a person would just need to type in an area code and the website map will show the dangers in a specific area.
Dr. Ajantha Jayabarathan said radon is a major risk factor for lung problems.
Nelson said using the software they were able to go through 650 patient records and find 10 patients that have respiratory problems and are living in areas of high risk.
Jayabarathan said what’s important, is that the software allows her to go beyond treatment - to prevention.
“With a tool like this I could probably also say ‘Did you know that you happen to live in a place that is high in radon? It might be to your value to have your air tested’,” she said.
Deputy Health Minister Peter Vaughan said the technology will not be available to doctors anytime soon.
He said it could cost the province up to $10,000 per year per user.
“That's a pretty significant cost when you add up the 2,500 physicians in the province and it's not something that we would again prioritize at this stage,” he said.
For now, Nova Scotians can check out the province's radon map for themselves online.