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Should Canadian Physicians Be Forced to Use EMR?

Could Canadian physicians lose their jobs if they don’t go paperless? In an article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, a leading health administrator, speaking at an e-Health conference in Toronto, proposed that physicians in Canada face stiff penalties, including firing, if they do not adopt the use of electronic medical records systems.

According to Tom Closson, president and CEO of the Ontario Hospital Association and a member of the board of director of Canada Health Infoway:

Paying physicians who do not use EMRs is an “unfair and inappropriate use of public money,” adding that the system cannot simply afford to wait for change in the form of the retirement of a generation of doctors.

Not surprisingly, Canadian physicians were not too pleased with his position. Dr. Chris Hayes, medical officer for the Canadian Patient Safety Institute, said that health IT is “no holy grail” and that change should be accomplished through professional development initiatives, not through bureaucratic fiat. “It’s not physicians versus the administration.”

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