Interior Health’s (IH) new MyHealthPortal program, which gives patients online access to some of their health records, will be coming to the Ashcroft Hospital and Health Site in the fall of 2016. IH plans to have the program made available to all patients over the age of 16 throughout its region by spring of 2017.
The program was launched at the Shuswap Lake Hospital in Salmon Arm earlier this year, and Maureen Detwiller, director of clinical informatics for IH, says it will soon be rolled out at a second site, which has already been chosen. The learnings from Salmon Arm will be incorporated so that the process can be improved.
MyHealthPortal allows patients to see some of their electronic records, such as lab and diagnostic imaging reports, a record of their visits to hospital, and upcoming appointments. “It has started small, but we can add things as we progress,” says Detwiller.
“What we’re moving to over time is the ability for patients to request appointments with clinics, or for tests at the hospital,” Norma Malanowich, vice-president and chief information officer for IH, told The Journal in July. “When you make the request for an appointment you can put in your schedule or preferences.” She added that the MyHealthPortal program is very much in line with the “self service” element that is a part of many people’s lives now, and that there is patient readiness to have this information available online.
Participation at Shuswap Lake Hospital was voluntary, with patients signing up for the program on-site. However, Detwiller says that while that system worked well, it isn’t sustainable. “We can’t have people at every site all the time to sign people up. The next step is to collect e-mail addresses, so that the program is sustainable across IH. We’re going to the next site to try a new enrolment process.
“People will still need to come to the site, and will be asked for their e-mail address so that we can verify that the person requesting access to the portal is that person. They don’t need to sign up right away; they can ask to sign up any time. Eventually we want to get to the point where people can just e-mail in [their sign-up], but we’re a long way away from that. We want to make sure we have really good processes around this.”
Detwiller says that they expect to learn more at the second site, and that this information will be incorporated in the process going forward. She adds that giving patients online access to some of their health records “gives people a sense of empowerment”.
Information about MyHealthPortal’s roll-out at the Ashcroft Hospital will be announced by IH communications staff when it is ready to be launched.