EMR Program Co-Lead, Mother, Triathlete

“You’ve got to carve out time for yourself. I’m up early to get my run, bike, or swim in. Then I can focus on work during the day and my family in the evenings. The extras – like training for a marathon, competing in a triathlon, or coaching my daughter’s soccer team – are things that keep me grounded. Sometimes as a mom – a parent – you can feel guilty, but it’s important to take care of yourself before you can take care of other people. I think that’s the key.”

Dr. Kristy Newson

Provincial EMR Program Co-Lead and Physician Advisor, Charlottetown

If you’ve ever contemplated volunteering in your community, considered stepping into a leadership role at work, or are just trying to fit more physical activity into your life, Kristy Newson is an excellent role model. Although she won’t tell you that; she’s modest and genuine and prefers not to talk about herself, instead focusing on the people around her. And it’s no wonder. Kristy has built a career around taking care of other people. She works as a Family Physician at the Boardwalk Professional Centre in Charlottetown. It’s a job she loves and one that has kept her busy for the better part of 13 years.

Recently, Dr. Newson stepped into a leadership role as the Province’s Electronic Medical Record (EMR) Program Co-lead and Physician Advisor. Working as a leader in the medical community isn’t a new experience for her; she’s served as the President of the PEI College of Family Physicians for the past two years and also volunteered as the Chief Medical Officer for the Canadian Premier League’s Island Games last year, among other volunteer roles.

Kristy is also a mother of two (unless you count their fur-baby Kona as a third), partner to Charlottetown Airport CEO Doug Newson, a local soccer coach, marathon runner, and a competitive triathlon athlete.

She credits her supportive family and friends, as well as the lifestyle on the Island, for her successes. And, despite all of the roles she serves in, and the multi-tasking she has to do on a daily basis, she will still generously give of her time if it means helping someone else or advancing the healthcare system on PEI.

“I’ve always been a determined individual – very goal-driven. If I set a goal, I try to achieve it. So, whether it’s running a marathon in a certain time for a personal or our goal of getting over 80 per cent of physicians on PEI implemented on the EMR, I’ll put in the effort it takes to try to make it happen.”

Kristy and her husband were born on PEI but lived off-Island for the first part of their careers. They moved back home in 2007 to raise their family and enjoy the benefits of Island living.

“The lifestyle on PEI is a major selling point or should be for anyone considering coming here. There’s a slower pace to life. There are no long commutes; it’s a max 20-minute drive to any waterfront area. And, we have a strong sense of community here. In fact, that’s also what appeals to me at work. We have a strong community of physicians. I enjoy working and living on the Island and feel very lucky to be here.”

Kristy’s passion right now, aside from spending time with her family, is the provincial EMR program. That’s because she knows it has the potential to be one of the first, fully integrated EMRs in the country, changing the way the Island approaches health care.

This new system will mean that family physicians like Kristy, as well as specialists and nurse practitioners will have access to patients’ medical records securely no matter what walk-in clinic or healthcare centre they use. This includes medical history, pre-existing conditions, labs ordered, and other important information like prescriptions.

“For patients, a fully integrated Electronic Medical Records system can mean your provider has a more complete picture of your health history; you will have more choices on how you consult and communicate with your physician; and it will reduce the need for duplication of tests. EMR will allow people to make more informed choices about their health, and, ultimately, will help create a better, overall healthcare experience.”

Most of Kristy’s business hours are wrapped up in the EMR program currently, but she’s still running her practice with the help of a locum doctor and a strong, supportive team. But how does she fit in everything else? She says it’s all about balance, and finding that, is her advice to others.