FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government is implementing a new electronic health record system that aims to improve the management of vaccines, immunizations and potential disease outbreaks.

“Through the implementation of the Public Health Information Solution, the Department of Health will be able to better manage the process of distributing vaccines and immunizations in New Brunswick,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell, the chief medical officer of health. “The ultimate goal is to vaccinate as many New Brunswickers as possible in order to maximize effectiveness in mitigating and preventing illness.”

The system is part of the Community eHealth IT Strategy.

“The New Brunswick Medical Society applauds the establishment of the Public Health Information Solution,” said society president Dr. Serge Melanson. “This will enable physicians and allied health professionals to better understand the overall health of the population of New Brunswick and more effectively prevent the spread of communicable diseases.”

The Department of Health and regional health authorities currently rely on a combination of paper-based and electronic records to monitor patient vaccines and immunization information. The new system will organize and streamline the records into one central database.

The first of three phases will be implemented in February, with Phase 2 beginning in July followed by Phase 3 in August 2020. The implementation process is expected to take two years to complete.

As the initiative proceeds, the Department of Health will work with other partners and stakeholders, including the Department of Public Safety (public health inspectors), the physicians providing publicly funded vaccines, and First Nations health-care providers.

The Department of Health is investing $12.5 million over four years to implement the system, which aims to help Public Health fulfil its prevention and disease containment mandate.