0101 Using tablets & EMR tools to enhance treatment and standardize health information collection in primary care


This is a two-part presentation. The first part delves into using tablets to enhance mental health treatment. The second part focuses on using EMR tools to manage depression and anxiety and standardize COVID-19 screening.



Dr. Mohamed Alarakhia, BSc(Hons), MD, CCFP, MSc & Tara Lonergan, CHIM, PROSCI & Lynn Cave, CHIM, PMP

Part 1: Using tablets to enhance mental health treatment 

The first part of this presentation will focus on how the use of tablets for mental health screening in primary care practices have allowed health information to be captured in standardized, validated questionnaires and securely flow this information into the clinician’s electronic medical record (EMR). Providing patients with tablets to complete health assessment questionnaires while patients wait to see their primary care provider (PCP) increases practice efficiencies, provides more honest responses, and has enabled trending of patient outcomes over time. We will also highlight how the flow of information can be captured through secure email, leveraging the same standardized, validated questionnaires.

Part 2: Using EMR tools to manage depression and anxiety and standardize COVID-19 screening 

The second part of this presentation will discuss how the health information collected from the tablets is pushed into an EMR tool, Depression/Anxiety, focusing on the management of depression and anxiety. This seamless integration enables primary care providers to efficiently collect mental health information. Using a standardized EMR tool which provides clinical decision support and is based on clinical best practices, will help manage patients with depression and anxiety.

An additional EMR tool, the COVID-19 EMR Screening Tool, was developed to support primary care providers in assessing patients’ COVID-19 symptoms. Collecting this data with a standardized EMR tool has enabled primary care providers to make informed decisions regarding their patient population and has provided public health agencies with data on those with positive symptoms.

Dr. Mohamed Alarakhia is a family physician at The Centre for Family Medicine Family Health Team, the managing director of the eHealth Centre of Excellence, and the chief clinical information officer for Ontario Health (West Region). Dr. Alarakhia is also the faculty digital health lead at McMaster University’s Waterloo Regional Campus, an assistant clinical professor at McMaster University, and an adjunct professor at the University of Waterloo. Dr. Alarakhia was awarded the Digital Health Executive of the Year Award in 2019 and the 2018 College of Family Physicians of Canada Award of Excellence. He was awarded the Ted Evans Scholarship for excellence in the principles of family medicine and for his exceptional interest and potential in informatics and information systems.

Tara Lonergan is a PROSCI-certified change management specialist at the eHealth Centre of Excellence and works with clinicians across Ontario Health West to support the adoption of electronic referral (eReferral). Tara graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University with an honours bachelor of arts in sociology, then continued her studies at the Centre for Distance Education where she received a diploma in health information management. In 2016, Tara became a Certified Health Information Management (CHIM) professional with the Canadian College of Health Information Management. Tara applies her passion for HIM when supporting clinicians with the implementation of digital health solutions, ensuring that they are using eReferral in ways which enhance practice efficiencies and improve patient outcomes.

Lynn Cave is a business analyst at the eHealth Centre of Excellence and has played a key role in supporting a variety of digital health initiatives across the Ontario Health West region by engaging with stakeholders to identify and solve business issues. Lynn graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University with a bachelor of arts degree and also holds a diploma in health information management from the Centre for Distance Education. She became a Certified Health Information Management (CHIM) professional in November 2016, and more recently became a Project Management Professional (PMP) in May 2020.

After completing this course, CPE credits will be automatically applied for professional members.