Software Development Standards
The B.C. Ministry of Health operates a number of health information exchange systems, which form the technical foundation of the electronic health record in British Columbia.
Health Information Exchange Systems
These systems allow point of service applications to exchange patient information with the provincial clinical information repositories and registries. This functionality is available to authorized health professionals and support staff delivering health care services in British Columbia.
The ministry publishes conformance standards on this website for software organizations seeking access to the ministry's health information exchange systems. These standards include business rules, application enforced rules, privacy and security rules, and change management rules. There are detailed technical specifications about the transport mechanism and electronic message services used for transmitting the information as well.
Please read below for more information on the ministry's available health information exchange services, including the clinical or administrative functions they support.
The Client Registry is the authoritative registry of healthcare client demographic information in British Columbia. This includes the personal health number (PHN), Health Authority source system identifiers (e.g., medical record number), name, date of birth, date of death (if applicable), gender, address, and telephone number. An integrated point of service application can link an individual's clinical records (e.g., lab results) based on the patient's PHN and source system identifiers from integrated systems across the province.
Authorized users with a point of service application integrated with the Client Registry can:
- search for and capture patient identity information to support care and safe health service delivery;
- store client demographics from the Client Registry in the point of service application;
- update client demographic information in the Client Registry;
- create a PHN for patients, ensuring every recipient of BC healthcare services has one.
The Provider Registry is the authoritative registry of British Columbia health care providers' demographic and professional information (e.g., name, identifiers, demographics, expertise, contact and licensing status). This information can be used to maintain internal provider directories within the health sector. The registry also supports activities such as patient referrals and informal consultations between care providers.
Authorized users with a point of service application integrated with the Provider Registry can:
- search for provider demographic and professional information and store the results in their local application;
- receive real time distributions of updated provider information to store in local directories; and
- update a provider's work location information in the Provider Registry.
PharmaNet is the provincial drug information and claims processing system that links all community pharmacies in British Columbia. It contains every prescription dispensed in B.C. community pharmacies. PharmaNet helps pharmacists and other health professionals identify and warn patients about potentially harmful medication interactions, unintended duplications, and risks from the misuse of prescription drugs.
Authorized users with a point of service application integrated with PharmaNet can:
- submit prescription dispense and claim information;
- access patient medication histories and store them in their local application;
- update patient medication histories with over-the-counter medications, dispensed samples, clinical conditions and adverse drug reactions;
- generate drug monographs for professional information and patient counselling;
- perform drug use evaluations to identify possible drug interactions;
- monitor patient medication adherence by verifying the status of a prescription; and
- send prescriptions to PharmaNet (ePrescribe) [under development].
The Provincial Laboratory Information Solution contains comprehensive diagnostic laboratory test results from private and public laboratories across British Columbia. It allows authorized care providers to access their patients' historical and recently published lab test results, including tests ordered by other health care providers. Access to comprehensive lab results is important for care providers to make timely and appropriate clinical decisions. It also reduces patient inconvenience by preventing the unnecessary duplications of lab tests.
Authorized users with a point of service application integrated with the Provincial Laboratory Information System can:
- view a summary of all lab results within a specified time period for a patient;
- select lab results reports to retrieve; and
- view and store the lab results data in the local software for other clinical decision support purposes (e.g., trending, graphing).
Organizations Developing Interfaces
Organizations interested in developing interfaces to the ministry's health information exchange systems need to review the integration process and how to get started section. The Conformance Standards define the full requirements for integrating with the ministry's health information exchange systems.
Health Professional and Support Staff Material
User education and reference information provides ongoing support for health care professionals and their staff interacting with ministry health information exchange systems. This information provides background to the topics covered in user training for software applications connected to the ministry’s systems.