Toronto (Aug. 22, 2005) - What would physicians' offices look like and how would they function if they were equipped with leading-edge technology? Answers to that and similar questions will be explored using a new laboratory concept, called an "eHealth collaboratory."

Announced recently by the Centre for Global eHealth Innovation at University Health Network and Canada Health Infoway – which is providing start-up funding – the collaboratory will leverage the centre's technical, clinical and usability expertise, and will focus on E.H.R. (electronic health record) technology.

"The eHealth collaboratory is a simulator of the future, where vendors, clinicians, technology experts, policy makers and the public can work together to find innovative ways to improve people's health through information and communication technologies," said Dr. Alex Jadad, Director of the Centre for Global eHealth Innovation.

With access to the state-of-the-art labs and the sophisticated telecommunications and communications infrastructure of the centre, the collaboratory will provide physical and virtual "environments" that recreate real-life settings. Complete with furnishings, lighting, appropriate noise and space limitations and staffed by trained actors and health-care professionals, the environments recreate clinical workflow, including interruptions and unforeseen events.

Interested vendors are being invited to participate in the first demonstration series – the physician office of the future. Vendors will be able to test their technologies to see how well they work with complementary E.H.R. systems, and will receive a report detailing the success of their technology along with recommendations for improvement.

For their part stakeholders such as health-care regions, hospitals and clinics can use the demonstration environment to evaluate vendor products before purchasing them.

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