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December 16, 2008

Innovative Online Catalogue Links Doctors with Specialists to Better Serve Patients

Innovative Online Catalogue Links Doctors with Specialists to Better Serve Patients

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New online registry gives physicians new resources to save time in finding the right specialist for patient care

A first-in-Canada online tool will help physicians in the Winnipeg health region and across Manitoba quickly find the right medical specialists for their patients, saving time both for doctors and people receiving care.

Doctors will be able to quickly search the new Catalogue of Specialized Services (CSS) by areas of clinical expertise to create a short-list of doctors providing specialized services like orthopedics, dermatology or surgery. The tool will help physicians ensure they are connecting their patients with the most appropriate specialist to best meet their patient's needs.

"This new resource puts up-to-date information at doctors' fingertips, giving referring physicians new tools to connect patients with the right specialist more quickly than before," said Health Minister Theresa Oswald. "As part of our strategy to decrease wait times, this is an innovative solution that will create new efficiencies and help deliver better care."

"Winnipeg is home to many of the province's specialized medical doctors and we want to make ourselves easy to find when we're needed," said Dr. Jamie Boyd, medical director of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority's family medicine program. "This new tool will help show the way and improve the patient's journey."

This new $80,000 tool was developed in partnership with the medical community to improve efficiency and coordination between health care providers. It lists the doctor's location and the medical services provided, designed to direct patient referrals to the right clinician, the first time.

"This should save time for the family doctor, the specialists and the patients, since all of the important information is pulled together in one accessible tool," said Dr. Robyn Olson, president of the Manitoba Medical Association. " Physicians can be confident that they're making the right referral to the right specialist."

Every doctor and referring clinician in the province will be given a unique user name and password to access the catalogue. Doctors that provide specialized services will be able to log in and update their areas of expertise so it always remains a valuable online resource for family physicians, especially those in rural and remote parts of the province.

"This is a great tool for family physicians and their patients," said Dr. Fran Berard, president of the Manitoba College of Family Physicians. "Finding the right specialist can be a challenge, especially for doctors who practice in rural Manitoba. This will really make the referral process much more efficient and will improve quality of care for all Manitobans."

The development of the web tool was made possible, in part, through a contribution from Health Canada.

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