By Joseph Goedert 

Sierra Systems, a British Columbia-based consulting firm, has released a brief report comparing the national health care information technology initiatives of Canada and the United States. The report also notes lessons learned in Canada for U.S. policymakers.

The firm has experience implementing electronic health records systems across Canada, where the government is helping fund EHRs. The report acknowledges that the U.S. population, served by a much more complicated health care system, is 10 times greater than that of Canada. Consequently, "there is no question" that the scope and scale of challenges moving to EHRs are greater in the U.S. Still, the U.S. can learn from Canada's experience so far, report authors contend.

"The obstacles and challenges faced by both nations in moving toward an electronic health record appear to be remarkably similar and therefore developing an understanding of Canada's EHR voyage may provide some valuable input into U.S. EHR strategy development," according to the report. "Canada and the U.S. have both been active participants in the development of EHR standards and technologies, but Canada has outpaced the U.S. in the adoption of those technologies and the corresponding realization of EHR benefits."

For a copy of the free report, "Realizing the Goal of Electronic Health Records in the United States--Lessons Learned from Canada," click here.

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