Re: PITO vendors

I would like to respond to [the letter "Disappointed in PITO vendors chosen"], BCMJ 2008;50:13-14.

Disappointment abounds in the wake of the PITO selection process; this has been felt by physician users and EMR vendors alike. Users of non-selected EMRs will not receive subsidies and fear that their investment of time and energy may be lost; vendors of non-selected EMRs see lost opportunity and fear the loss of current business.

As both the user of a non-approved EMR ( and CEO of the same company. I believe this disappointment is unfounded. I love using my EMR and have seen no other product to which I would change even if subsidized to do so. 

Most other EMR users feel the same way. As an EMR vendor I celebrate the fact that I am not bound by the government-driven requirements of the Master Agreement[1]—that is, that development of my product will be market-driven, not government-driven. 

The caution of physician con­sum­ers, suspicion around the entire  BC government eHealth process,[2] and  privacy concerns[3] have resulted in  business being very slow for PITO-approved vendors (according to Mr Jeremy Smith, PITO director, addressing the SSPS of BC, 30 January 2008).

Meanwhile a plethora of non-approved EMR vendors, unfettered by the restrictions of PITO contracts, continue to hone their products. The resulting intense competition and the freeware economics of the Internet promise physicians state-of-the-art technology at dramatically lower prices, prices that I predict will be highly competitive with the subsidized price of PITO-approved products.

Running parallel is an explosion of innovation in the broader medical information technology marketplace; witness patient empowerment being embraced by personal health records (PHRs—for example, the CMA’s[4] and[5]), and developments in medical imaging (OpenSourcePACS), pharmacy communications (SmartenRX), and epidemiology GIS (zyxware).

Despair not, BC physicians—be patient, the market will rule, and you and your patients will be the big  winners.

—Tom Elliott, MBBS


1. Government of British Columbia. SATP-219 Appendix B, Master Standing Agreement between Her Majesty the Queen in right of the Province of British Columbia, as represented by the Minister of Health, 2007: 17-20; SATP-219 Appendix P, EMR Interoperability Release Schedule: 1-3. (click on “SATP-219” then click on “Supplier Attachment Exist”, then click on Appendices B & P).
2. Meissner D. RCMP asks BC to withhold results of audit connected to former bureaucrat. Prince George Citizen, 10 December 2007. 
3. Fayerman P. New BC health law could lead to privacy abuse. Vancouver Sun, 23 April 2008.
4. Sullivan P. CMA’s new online portal opens door to easier monitoring of chronic  illness. CMA News 31 March 2008.
5. Elliott Meditech.

Tom Elliott, MBBS,. Re: PITO vendors. BCMJ, Vol. 50, No. 6, July, August, 2008, Page(s) 292 - Letters.

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