Canadian ehealth body Health Infoway is to invest £239m (Canadian $380m) to fund electronic medical record systems in community-based practices and outpatient settings.

Infoway’s investment forms part of £314m (Canadian $500m) of new e-health funding provided by the Canadian federal government in its 2010 budget last week.

Richard Alvarez, president and chief executive, said: “This new wave of investment, in collaboration with the provinces and territories, will help us reach our target to enrol an additional 8,000 to 9,000 physicians and nurse practitioners in EMR programs by March 2012."

Canada Health Infoway is a nonprofit corporation funded by the government. It was created in 2001 to spur the adoption of electronic medical record systems and communications technologies.

Under the new investment program, Infoway will co-fund local investments and start-up costs for EMR systems for physicians and nurse practitioners throughout Canada.

Infoway says it will also invest in clinical peer support networks so that health professionals can learn from others’ experience and share best practice, innovation projects, and other efforts to accelerate clinical value from the use of information and communications technologies.

Infoway also provide support to qualifying information technology vendors needing to upgrade their current product lines to meet Infoway privacy, security and interoperability standards.

As in the USA, Canada’s Infoway is linking investments in EMR systems to ‘meaningful use’ criteria, to try and ensure health professionals and their patients derive clinical value from the systems that receive investment.