The future of health informatics and electronic health records: a look at the Canadian surveillance systems

Jalal-Eddeen Abubakar Saleh, Dauda Madubu Milgwe


In the 21st century of information and technological advancement, the emergence of health informatics and use of software applications have in no measure transformed the way surveillance is carried out. The investment in bioterrorism and automated surveillance systems has further stimulated new informatics methods in the public health sector. Thus, it suffices to say that informatics methods and systems have the potential to improve the quality and consistency of clinical preventive services. Importantly, there are wide ranges of applications in use in the aspect of surveillance, epidemiology, prevention and control.

The importance of sharing surveillance data and health data between and among agencies is essential to early warning systems in terms of disease spread and bioterrorism. It is vital to have a comprehensive and effective surveillance system in place so as to monitor disease trend and to ensure that information delivered are accurate, timely and complete; this strategy aims to prevent outbreaks and to protect the health of the public. However, this is not possible without a functional info-technology system in place such as the availability of a computer system to aid in in effective tracking, identifying, collecting, validating, and analyzing data; this measure would ensure that the public and other stakeholders are well informed on any possible outbreaks for necessary measures to be put in place.

There is need for other economically advanced countries to take a leave from Canada as the government is internationally recognized not only as a leader in health care prevention and promotion but also a founder of the healthy communities’ movement; this could not have been possible without the government’s strong commitment to fundamental change towards bringing an enviable healthcare to the door steps of Canadians.

Key Words: Electronic health records, Surveillance, Tele-health, Tele-medicine, Syndromic Surveillance, Canada

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