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Patient Access: Achieving Results and Accelerating Adoption

Posted on May 30, 2017 by Selina Brudnicki

The world of patient portals and patient engagement is on the verge of transformational change. The change has the potential to transition ‘patients’ from being passive recipients of health care to ‘people’ taking charge and becoming more responsible leaders of their own health.

As part of this transition, clinical practices can improve patient experience by giving patients access to their health information so they can be more informed partners in their care.

Enter University Health Network (UHN)’s myUHN Patient Portal LEADing Practice Challenge submission. myUHN enables patients to see their UHN appointments and receive appointment reminders; see results, reports and clinical documentation; share their health information with others; and find patient education materials.

Here are three key learnings from our implementation that helped us achieve results and accelerate adoption:

  1. Co-design with patients to understand their needs and ensure value.
    Patients at UHN prioritized needs and requirements, and tested myUHN for ease of use as we designed the product. Staff provided input into processes and education (within myUHN and as part of clinical care).
  2. Give patients the choice.
    The most challenging discussions were about the timing and release of sensitive information, such as pathology results and mental health notes. We reviewed literature and other patient portal experiences, as well as the rights of individuals to their personal health record. However, the most compelling argument came directly from patients, who told us they want to be in control of how and when they access THEIR OWN information. In fact, 96 per cent of early adopter portal users at UHN said they want to access results as soon as they are ready, even before talking to their doctor.
  3. Continuously improve.
    Patient access drives the health care system to re-visit the way we work. This includes:
    • Teaching patients how to interpret results and explaining the possible outcomes, so patients are prepared
    • Ensuring clinical documentation is accurate and concise
    • Responding more quickly to patient needs as part of follow-up care. Patient access beckons continuous improvement

If you’re considering implementing a patient portal and patient access to their health information, I hope these learnings will help you optimize patient experience, achieve desired results and accelerate adoption.

Have a comment about this post? We’d love to hear from you.


Selina Brudnicki bioSelina Brudnicki

Selina Brudnicki is Program Lead for myUHN Patient Portal and UHN Digital at University Health Network, Toronto. As a healthcare change agent, she is transitioning ‘patients’ from being passive receivers of health care to ‘people’ taking charge and becoming more responsible leaders of their own health. Selina has also provided leadership to project teams to deliver initiatives that give healthcare providers from across different organizations more complete access to their patients’ health records, breaking down silos of information and delivering more coordinated care.

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