Posted on August 23, 2016 by Michael Green
By early 2017, Nova Scotia will be the first province in Canada to offer all residents secure online access to their health information.
MyHealthNS is an online tool, or portal, that enables patients and doctors to share information, including routine test results. Once patients have created their secure online health record, they can receive and store test results and specialist reports electronically. They can also log health information, such as blood pressure readings, immunizations, allergies and medications. And, they can view and manage their information on any web-enabled device.
Over the past three years, more than 30 family doctors and 6,000 patients have been involved in a pilot project to test the system. The reviews have been very positive. Ninety-eight per cent of patients say they want to continue receiving their results online, and 100 per cent of doctors say sharing the results online is valuable or extremely valuable to their patients. Eighty-five per cent of patients also say it has made a positive difference to them in managing their health. Another 77 per cent say they felt more involved in their care.
These survey results are impressive, but not unexpected. Infoway’s own national surveys show that the vast majority of Canadians see extraordinary value in digital health tools. Ninety-six per cent think it’s important for the health care system to use digital health tools and capabilities, and 89 per cent feel it’s important that they personally have full advantage of these tools and capabilities. Why? Because patients want to feel more in control of their own care. They want to be at the centre of their circle of care, not on the outside looking in.
One of Canada’s most eloquent patient advocates, the late Alexa Thompson of Halifax, said it best: “What digital health has done to my life is empower me to become a partner with my doctor.”
MyHealthNS will give an increasing number of patients the opportunity to partner with their doctors too. I have no doubt that, just like the patients and doctors who participated in the pilot project, they will get tremendous value and peace of mind from using this new digital health service.
I commend Nova Scotia for making progress on this important initiative. Infoway is a proud partner and we look forward to hearing about the many success stories that are sure to come when MyHealthNS is rolled out to patients and doctors across the province! Infoway is also proud to be partnering with other provinces, such as Alberta and Saskatchewan, who are engaged in provincewide initiatives as well. It is my hope that one day all Canadians will have access to such tools.
Patients and doctors in Nova Scotia can register for or learn more about MyHealthNS by visiting myhealthns.ca.
Let me know what you think about online patient portals. I’d love to hear from you!
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As President and Chief Executive Officer of Canada Health Infoway, he works with Infoway’s jurisdictional partners and other key stakeholders to accelerate the development and adoption of digital health in Canada, which will provide clinicians and patients with information they need to support safer care decisions and a more modern and sustainable health care system for all Canadians.