Officials with Nova Scotia's Health Department said Wednesday they will miss the targeted launch for the province's electronic health record program by three months.
The Secure Health Access Record, which is to provide a patient's complete medical history from a variety of sources, was to be running this month but has been pushed back until June.
In an appearance before the legislature's public accounts committee, Sandra Cascadden, the department's chief information officer, blamed last fall's swine flu outbreak for the delay.
Cascadden said all elements of the health system were focused on containing the outbreak and that affected progress on building the electronic record program.
"That put a big gap inside the project and that was really the main timeline impact on that initiative," she said.
She said a number of committee meetings where key decisions needed to be made in consultation with doctors and specialists were cancelled during the height of the H1N1 outbreak.
She also said tests that had to be conducted with hospital lab technicians were also delayed.
"They were all redeployed in order to support the hospitals, so we didn't have access to any of those people who were key to moving the … project forward," she told reporters after the meeting.
She said the system will contain about four months' worth of hospital records that will be available to a targeted group of about 4,000 health professionals including doctors, specialists and support staff when it goes online.
More will be brought into the system as further phases are rolled out, she said.
There are nearly 2,000 doctors in Nova Scotia and Cascadden said only 298 currently maintain their own electronic medical record systems.
The goal is to eventually link the two systems to increase the flow of information, but that's something that is two years away, she said.
Cascadden said the delay hasn't added to the $27 million in costs to launch the program because it "stood down" during the swine flu outbreak.
Cascadden said health officials are now 90 per cent sure they will hit implement the system in June.