Nova Scotia will adopt an electronic public health system that will help public health officials in their work to keep more people from getting sick.
Right now, public health officials track outbreaks of communicable disease on paper. One person with the measles, for example, could potentially infect over 100 people, and public health officials have to contact each of them to determine if they have been vaccinated.
“This system will allow us to investigate disease outbreaks faster, to keep track of who has been vaccinated for what, and to notify people who might be at risk so they can take the steps they need to stay healthy,” said Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health. “We do this now, but we do it using paper records. This tool will also let us know where we have gaps in vaccination programs, so we can better protect Nova Scotians.”
Getting diseases like measles or the mumps can have long-term health consequences. Measles, for example, can cause ear infections and permanent hearing loss, pneumonia, or swelling of the brain.
By using this new electronic system, Panorama, public health officials will be able to do their work faster and more efficiently, helping to contain the spread of disease and keeping Nova Scotians healthier.
“Time is of the essence when we’re trying to limit the spread of diseases like measles or the mumps,” said Health and Wellness Minister Leo Glavine. “Public health officials work hard to let Nova Scotians know if they’ve been exposed to a communicable disease, but this system will help them to do their work more quickly and efficiently. That should help more Nova Scotians avoid getting serious illnesses.”
Government will invest $7.1 million over the next two years to bring Panorama online. Of that total, Canada Health Infoway will reimburse the province $4.2 million over the next three years.
Government will put Panorama in place over the next two years, beginning with the vaccine inventory and immunization components by the end of 2017. The communicable disease investigation and outbreak components will follow.
Government will issue a tender Friday, March 3, for project management and professional services for Panorama. It will be available at novascotia.ca/tenders.
The project will be complete by the end of December 2019.