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Telus unit buys B.C.-based electronic medical records company

Telus store near Yonge and Eglinton, Toronto, August 27, 2013.

Gloria Nieto/The Globe and Mail

A division of Telus Corp. is buying B.C.-based electronic medical records company Med Access Inc., expanding the telecommunications company's reach into health-care technology services.

Med Access Inc., based in Kelowna, provides electronic medical record services to 2,000 specialty and general practice doctors in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario.

Telus Health didn't disclose the financial terms of the deal on Monday, but said the latest acquisition will bring the total number of doctors who use its electronic medical records technology to more than 12,500 across the country.

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Telus identified electronic health services a number of years ago as an area of growth to offset declines in some of its older telecommunications services. It hasn't pursued a strategy of buying content to put on mobile phones and tablets it sells, while its competitors Bell Canada and Rogers Communications Inc. have bought television and radio stations and sports teams for growth and content.

Telus Health said it plans to integrate Med Access's electronic referral system, which allows healthcare teams to electronically forward any information in a patient's chart directly to another healthcare provider potentially reducing data entry errors and helping provide better care.

"We believe that connecting health-care providers together and with their patients is a natural extension of our core business of connecting millions of Canadians with the people and information that matters most to them," Paul Lepage, president of Telus Health, said in a news release.

Telus Health said it has invested more than $1-billion in health-care technology in recent years, including other acquisitions such as KinLogix in Quebec and Wolf Medical Systems in western Canada.

Telus created Telus Health after its 2007 acquisition of the former Emergis, a Montreal-based e-commerce and technology company that was an early pioneer in electronic health records.

The Vancouver-based telecom company has secure wireless and broadband networks that can be accessed by doctors and patients on personal computers, smartphones or tablets. Currently it provides and supports electronic health record solutions in dozens of hospitals and as well as in pharmacies across the country.

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