Sparwood mayor David Wilks was in attendance at the street party to discuss potential changes to Centennial Square.

‘We need to break down the boundaries’ for health care in Canada: Sparwood Mayor David Wilks

Wilks said that digital healthcare systems in Canada should be able to speak across provincial borders

Sparwood’s Mayor, David Wilks is taking on the cause of campaigning for the harmonization of electronic health records across Canada, saying that folks who lives in border communities were vulnerable to different systems across provincial borders.

Wilks, who spent time on the parliamentary health committee during his time as a federal MP between 2011 and 2015, said that the committee often heard of issues with how the process of moving Canada’s health records online was hitting roadblocks.

“The biggest stumbling block that we heard … was that although we had electronic health records in most provinces, what wasn’t happening, was that one province couldn’t talk to another province electronically.

“So if you were a person who lived in Fernie and you were transferred to Foothills hospital in Calgary, your health records could not be transferred electronically to Foothills because B.C. and Alberta have two different servers. As a result of that, it makes it – in my opinion – a redundant system,” he said, adding that amid the COVID-19 pandemic, having a Canada-wide health records system was even more important – something border communities understood now, but needed to be highlighted for provincial leaders to understand. “There are many border communities that struggle with this.”

“I don’t know how we can move this forward other than shining a light on it and pushing it,” he said.

Currently, if you fall ill in a different province to where you live and your records are requested, they often have to be mailed or emailed as different provincial systems don’t ‘speak’ to each other.

“The challenge with that is certain things can’t be transferred like X-rays, MRI results, CT scan results – those can’t be easily transferred by just an email – you have to mail them, and we all know how slow that can be.”

Wilks said that there were issues with how the move to adopting digital health records was happening, with the federally-funded body, Infoway, handing money to provinces to digitalize their records without the proviso that their records system be able to speak to other provinces. Healthcare is a provincial responsibility.

The solution was that federal funding for the digitalization of records should come with a string attached, said Wilks.

“The only string attached (should be) that all ten provinces and three territories need to work toward getting the same service provider – one service provider for all of Canada. It doesn’t seem like a hill all too hard to climb. It seems like something that is attainable. But it’s going to take all ten provinces to sit down with the federal government and the minister of health and their collective ministers for health provincially and say we get it, we all want to achieve the same thing, how can we move forward to have the same provider for everybody.”

It’s early days, but Wilks said he was looking to get support from local doctors first, and then he’d hope to start moving east, doing his homework and gathering support.

“With all due respect to the provinces and whomever is in power at the time, they have to put partisanship aside, they have to put aside the fact that yes, healthcare is a provincial matter placed upon them under the constitution, but the federal government can help them financially by ensuring that we have one provider. That’s all we’re asking. We’re not telling them how to collect their records, what to do with the records, just can we have one service provider so we can talk from coast to coast to coast.

“Health doesn’t have boundaries. If you get sick in Alberta, your body doesn’t know you’re in Alberta, it just knows you’re sick. We need to break down the boundaries.”

READ MORE: Castlegar doctor shares personal COVID story, calls for adherence to guidelines



scott.tibballs@thefreepress.ca
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

BC HealthBC politicsHealthcare

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(File Photo)
KES brings employment education to those over 55

The Encore program is targeted to adults past traditional retirement years looking for employment

Angel Flight East Kootenay was one of the three recipients of funding from the inaugural Giving Event. (Photo Contributed)
100 local women collect $10,500 for community organizations

The 100 WWC Fernie donated $3,500 to three grassroots organizations via their first Giving Event

Colleen Braconnier and her care aid, Karla McKie, outside of Rocky Mountain Village. (Soranne Floarea/ The Free Press)
‘We have such a good group here’: Local senior keeps head held high throughout pandemic

COVID-19 hasn’t stopped RMV resident, Colleen Braconnier, from remaining positive

Interior Health update. File photo.
86 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

The new deaths are from Heritage Square, a long-term care facility in Vernon

(File Photo)
Fernie Chamber to host virtual chat with business and physicians Jan. 18

The online conversation seeks to address issues including contact tracing in the community

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. teachers say COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virtually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Most Read