The health ministry of Manitoba, Canada, has selected a vendor team led by IBM Corp. to design and implement a health information exchange platform for provider organizations across the province.

The contract with Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM is valued at about $21.4 million in U.S. funds. Pittsburgh-based dbMotion, a vendor of integration and health information exchange software, is a subcontractor to IBM.

The Web-based platform initially will support views of a patient's medications, immunizations and lab results. The first release of the platform also will have initial integration to electronic medical records. Initial deployment will cover primary care and emergency care providers. A subsequent release of the platform will offer access to diagnostic images and reports, and expand integration with EMRs and other systems.

The health information exchange is part of a broader e-health strategy to which Manitoba has committed $150 million. The province previously selected Atlanta-based Eclipsys Corp. as the vendor of inpatient electronic medical records. To date, the system has been implemented in one hospital. The province, to date, has approved four vendors from which clinics can select an ambulatory electronic medical records system. The vendors are Clinicare Corp., Code-Med Inc., Med Access Inc. and Optimed Software Corp.

The province and national government will pay for electronic medical records in hospitals and public clinics. Decisions have not been finalized on whether private clinics will receive financial assistance.

More information is available at Manitoba-ehealth.ca. Note: The health information exchange program is called Manitoba EHR. The Canadian government uses EMR to refer to what the U.S. government calls EMRs and EHRs. Canada uses EHR to refer to what the U.S. calls HIE.

--Joseph Goedert

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