Patients at Grand River Hospital and St. Mary’s General Hospital now have a new way of accessing their health records and receiving information from their care team.
The two hospitals last week launched My Connected Care, an online portal that allows patients to view things such as laboratory and diagnostic reports, read clinical notes from their care team and book upcoming appointments.
This program was developed due to the growing trend of leveraging digital systems to “empower patients,” said Dr. Payal Agarwal, joint chief medical information officer for both hospitals.
“We know that patients who have access to their own information, feel more empowered, feel that they’re better positioned to be active members of their care team and that it actually creates more trust between patients and the health system,” Argawal explained.
“Previously there was a sort of a more clunky, longer way for patients to access their records through paper, but this new portal is great because it gives patients essentially real-time access to a lot of their health information,” she said.
The program is intended to enhance the personal aspect of healthcare and not take away from it, said Argarwal
“Having that time to reflect on your results, either before the time you have with your care team or after the time you have with your care team to come more prepared with questions [next time], can actually really enhance the value of that time you have with your provider.”
My Connected Care was soft launched last November in selected clinics in the hospitals, including the Heart Function Clinic at St. Mary’s.
“My Connected Care has empowered me,” said Greg Griffin, a patient in that clinic, in a release announcing the program. “I feel like a full partner in the management of my healthcare.”
Originally patients were asked by a member of their care team at their appointment if they would like to sign up for the program, however they were more concerned about their current appointment, than signing up.
“Sometimes they realized after that they wanted access after their visit. So that’s when we really changed to the current model, which is more of a self-enrollment model so people can go online to the website for either hospital and enroll from home right online without ever having to come to hospital,” Agarwal explained.
For patients who may have challenges with technology there is a 24-hour support phone number.
“At the end of the day, all the support that has always been there for patients…[will continue] to be available for patients as well. This is really just one more tool that they have available, but we definitely tried to make it as easy to use as possible,” Agarwal added.
Patients can sign up for the program and view an information video by visiting www.grhosp.on.ca.