The digital patient record as a cornerstone of a learning health system - the case of cancer care


Cancer: a terrible diagnosis that will be given to two out of five Canadians in their lifetime. Electronic patient records promise major benefits, with their ability to integrate the management of three crucial flows: patients’ flow, clinical information flow, and care activities flow. However, challenges related to meaningful and regular use of electronic records are major. This is where this project will make a contribution, by analyzing a unique case of successful implementation and utilization of electronic patient records in cancer care in Quebec. First, it will help in understanding the key ingredients that were associated with this success, and measure the impact of the utilization of the system on care quality, safety, accessibility and experience of patients. Preliminary results suggest a synergy between success factors in this setting (e.g. digital culture, clear vision) as well as formal mechanisms to support meaningful use of the system. Moreover, information quality is key for physicians and professionals, where availability, comprehensiveness and accessibility of information allow for a better care. Data analysis and interviews with patients will allow for a detailed description of the impact of the usage of the system on the experience of patients.