MD Practice Software LP — the software arm of MD Physician Services Inc. (MDPS), which is a subsidiary of the CMA — has agreed to sell its electronic medical record (EMR) business to TELUS Health. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The acquisition, which was announced February 26 and is expected to close on March 4, will make TELUS Health the largest provider of EMR systems in Canada. Following the close of the transaction, the company will be able to deliver EMR services to more than 9,000 physicians — which represents over 30% of physicians that currently use an EMR in Canada — and its software will be used for more than 25 million patient interactions annually.
TELUS Health, which is an arm of telecommunications company TELUS, says it will continue to honour service agreements with existing PS Suite EMR customers. It plans to introduce a new national EMR platform in the next three to five years.
CMA President Dr. Anna Reid said the CMA has been promoting the adoption of EMRs for close to a decade, and noted that about 56% of Canada’s physicians currently use them. “We would like to see that proportion grow,” she said, “because we know they make medicine more efficient and improve patient care.”
Reid added that the CMA is proud to have made the PS Suite EMR available to its members through MDPS, which in turn is pleased with the major advancements in quality and functionality achieved in support of its physician clients.
She said the sale was approved by the CMA Board of Directors, which concluded that TELUS Health had presented a vision that could support future technological advances and meet members’ needs.
Following the transaction, the CMA will join MDPS and TELUS Health on an advisory committee that will provide strategic advice concerning PS Suite EMR and receive updates on the company’s PS Suite EMR operations.”
Mike Gassewitz, president of MD Practice Software LP, says that in making the move the company was looking toward Canada’s future EMR requirements. “We are proud of the support we have provided physicians and of our involvement in the evolution of EMR platforms, assisting in fundamentally changing the nature of health care,” he said. “As the business evolves and the focus shifts to connectivity of systems and the continual improvement of outcomes, this is the right time to transition EMR clients to a leading IT company that shares our vision and has the standing and resources to implement a national best-in-class EMR offering that delivers inter-operability.”
The CMA has well over a dozen policy documents, briefs and resolutions extolling the value of EMRs. During the CMA’s 2010 annual meeting, for instance, delegates called on the federal government “to provide additional funding and support for [EMRs] to enable the rapid collection, analysis and sharing of clinical and public health data for public health and emergency surveillance purposes.”
Five years earlier, in a 2005 pre-budget brief to the House of Commons Committee on Finance, then CMA President Ruth Collins-Nakai commented: “One of the key health infrastructure investments that has to be made is the EMR — for too long Canada has lagged all major industrialized countries in adopting [it]. A pan-Canadian EMR would deliver higher quality care, faster and at a higher value. An EMR would also allow Canada’s health care system to dramatically increase communication between jurisdictions.”
MD Physician Services Agrees to Sale of its EMR Business