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Hamilton Health Sciences Receives Funding to Deploy Digital Health Access Channel for Residents of South West Ontario

September 7, 2017 (Hamilton) – Hamilton Health Sciences has received funding from Canada Health Infoway to deploy a regional patient portal to be used by up to 3.6 million residents of South West Ontario, one of the largest regional deployments of a patient-facing digital health access channel in Ontario.

The deployment, a partnership between Hamilton Health Sciences and Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, will integrate data from ClinicalConnect™, a provider portal operated by Hamilton Health Sciences with Sunnybrook’s MyChart™. ClinicalConnect aggregates health records from a total of 67 acute care hospitals, four LHINs and Regional Cancer Programs in South West Ontario, plus approved select provincial data repositories, while Sunnybrook’s MyChart portal is used by 250,000 patients in the Greater Toronto and Ottawa areas.

Using Sunnybrook’s digital health tool, patients will have a comprehensive view of their health record information; they’ll be able to read their test results, share records with caregivers, enter their own health information within a secure personal health record space, access educational information, securely communicate with health providers and further engage in their care as the tool is enhanced.

Providing patients with access to their personal health information is a priority of the government of Ontario. Projects such as the expansion of MyChart in South West Ontario are great examples of the progress that’s already being made, and are helping to realize a future where patients have seamless access to their personal health information from across the health system.

The initial patient portal deployment will begin with a target of 65,000 people, and will provide patients with access to their data from acute care facilities, secure messaging capabilities with physicians and clinicians, and appointment booking functionality.

“As the solution provider for ClinicalConnect, we have experienced first-hand the benefits and impact that electronic health solutions have on improved patient safety and quality of care,” says Mark Farrow, Vice President & Chief Information Officer of Hamilton Health Sciences.“ Now, we are pleased to partner with Sunnybrook Health Sciences to make patients’ access to their health record information a reality in South West Ontario.”

Sarina Cheng, Director of the MyChart Program, Health Records, Patient Registration Services and eHealth Strategies & Operations at Sunnybrook couldn’t agree more. “Just like Hamilton Health Sciences has seen with its deployment of ClinicalConnect, a highly successful provider-facing portal, we’ve seen the tremendous impact that enabling and empowering patients with direct access to their own health records, in digital format, can have. We’ve seen how patients can become more involved in managing their care, and are thrilled to partner with HHS to make Sunnybrook’s solution available in South West Ontario.”

“The vast majority of Canadians want digital access to their health information and studies confirm organizations with a strong emphasis on providing a high-quality patient experience have better health outcomes,” said Michael Green, President and CEO of Canada Health Infoway.  “Infoway is proud to invest in this project, which will help empower patients to take on more active roles in the management of their health and wellness.” 

“With Sunnybrook’s MyChart, patients throughout South West Ontario will have an easy-to-use method of viewing their health information, including test results, and communicate with health providers. Providing better and more convenient access to health information is an essential part of our government’s plan to improve the patient experience and build a more patient-centred health care system.” — Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

In addition to patients residing in South West Ontario, existing users of Sunnybrook’s MyChart will also benefit because their medical and personal health information from healthcare organizations located in South West Ontario will also be accessible to them, in addition to data already accessible through existing integrations between MyChart and various hospitals across Ontario.

The HITS eHealth Office will be responsible for operationalizing the project’s delivery, working to ‘connect’ ClinicalConnect with Sunnybrook’s solution, as well as promoting adoption of the portal amongst patients of various acute care hospitals as part of the initial deployment. 

About Hamilton Health Sciences

Hamilton Health Sciences is Ontario’s most comprehensive healthcare system with five hospital sites and five specialized facilities in Hamilton and West Niagara. Our 15,000 staff, physicians, researchers and volunteers serve the health needs of approximately 2.3 million residents of Hamilton, Central South and Central West Ontario, from pre-birth to end-of-life. We are both a community hospital as well as a regional centre for an array of acute care services, including: cardiac, stroke, cancer, trauma, burns, neurosciences and pediatrics. In affiliation with McMaster University and Mohawk College, we’re recognized as one of the world’s leading health sciences research organizations.

The Health Information Technology Service (HITS) eHealth Office at Hamilton Health Sciences manages the advancement of regional eHealth systems and solutions. HITS is the Information Technology division of Hamilton Health Sciences, and the eHealth Office offers a variety of services to support innovation and transformation of eHealth. The HITS eHealth Office plays a number of roles: as Solution Provider for ClinicalConnect, the connecting South West Ontario (cSWO) Program’s Change Management and Adoption Delivery Partner for the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Local Health Integration Network (HNHB LHIN), and the eHealth Project Management Office for digital initiatives underway in the HNHB LHIN.

About Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre is inventing the future of health care for the 1.2 million patients the hospital cares for each year through the dedication of its more than 10,000 staff and volunteers. An internationally recognized leader in research and education and a full affiliation with the University of Toronto distinguishes Sunnybrook as one of Canada’s premier academic health sciences centres. Sunnybrook specializes in caring for high-risk pregnancies, critically-ill newborns and adults, offering specialized rehabilitation and treating and preventing cancer, cardiovascular disease, neurological and psychiatric disorders, orthopedic and arthritic conditions and traumatic injuries. The Hospital also has a unique and national leading program for the care of Canada’s war veterans.

About Canada Health Infoway

Infoway helps to improve the health of Canadians by working with partners to accelerate the development, adoption and effective use of digital health across Canada. Through its investments, Infoway helps deliver better quality and access to care and more efficient delivery of health services for patients and clinicians. Infoway is an independent, not-for-profit organization funded by the federal government. 

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Media Contacts: 

Mark Farrow
Vice President & Chief Information Officer
Hamilton Health Sciences
905-521-2100 ext. 49999
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Sarina Cheng
Director, Health Records, MyChart Program & Patient Registration Departments,
eHealth Strategies & Operations, and Information Services
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
416-480-5349
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Karen Schmidt
Director, Corporate Communications
Canada Health Infoway
Tel: (416) 595-3167
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Results of a recent patient survey and observational study found virtual visits, medical consultations between a patient and provider via videoconference, suggest that this new model of care is responsive to patients’ needs and could offer health system value including the potential to lower primary care costs.

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