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Patients can access their health records securely on their digital devices

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Angie and Charlie

Angie Hamson (Right) is happy that she no longer has to cart around her big blue binder. The new digital health records system has a patient portal, called MyChart, that allows Angie and Charlie to securely see Charlie’s real-time, up-to-date test results digitally. When he transitions to The Ottawa Hospital as an adult, Charlie can use a version of MyChart.

For years, Angie Hamson went from one doctor appointment to another carrying a blue binder that weighed eight-and-a-half pounds. The binder held vital information about her nine-year-old son, Charlie.

Charlie has complex medical issues that involve his brain, his heart, and his palate. So far, he has had 14 surgeries and countless medical tests. The binder was the only way that Angie could keep track of Charlie’s appointments, medications, test results, surgeries, reports, discharge summaries, follow-up visits, and any outstanding issues that needed to be addressed.  She needed this information to monitor Charlie’s progress over the long-term. She didn’t want anything to fall through the cracks.

“Before MyChart, having more than one doctor’s appointment in a day led to challenges.”

Everything changed when Angie was introduced to MyChart.

MyChart is a secure portal to a digital health records system that securely keeps a patient’s health records in one place. Patients can access the secure portal using their desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone or other mobile device.

With MyChart, patients can:

  • Track health care goals
  • See upcoming appointments and check in for them
  • Enter medication, allergy and health condition updates for a doctor to review at the next appointment
  • Review and track lab results, vitals and more
  • Answer hospital questionnaires from the comfort of home
  • View recent clinic visits, After Visit Summaries and notes that doctors release
  • Receive documents from their doctor like medical notes to excuse an absence from work
  • Review outstanding invoices
MyChart login

MyChart is a secure portal for patients to digitally view their health records in a digital health information system that securely stores a patient’s health records in a network currently shared by six partner health-care organizations. Patients can use MyChart to view and check in for medical appointments, review test results, track health goals, and much more.

The Ottawa Hospital and five other health-care organizations, which make up the Atlas Alliance, will have its own version of MyChart once it launches the Epic Health Information System in June 2019. The Epic system uses the latest technology to securely store patient records and maintain patient privacy. When Charlie transitions to The Ottawa Hospital as an adult, he can continue to use a version of MyChart.

Before MyChart, having more than one doctor’s appointment in a day led to challenges. Angie would often have to wait for Charlie’s paper chart to catch up to them, sometimes causing delays at the clinic.

 MyChart solves many of these problems.

“From a practical perspective, I love being able to access Charlie’s health information,” said Angie. “I could look at his reports to see that the mass [in Charlie’s brain] was shrinking. I could see that his blood levels were stabilizing. I could see that things were going back to normal.”  

MyChart also helps Angie feel empowered.

“Ensuring that patients have access to their own information empowers them to better manage their care.”

“I don’t have to rely on my own handwritten notes or have to wait for someone to give me copies of reports,” she said.  “With MyChart, I have access to the reports without even asking.  Being granted access to this information makes me feel like part of the team, not someone sitting on the sidelines.”

Angie believes that many patients will feel the same way. With MyChart, patients control who can access their digital health records, and when where and how they see them.

“Ensuring that patients have secure access to their own information empowers them to better manage their care.  The patient can access their information from anywhere; it is no longer confined to the hospital chart.  I don’t live in the hospital – why should my health-care information?”

Heavy binder or mobile device

Heavy binder or mobile device Which would you rather carry?

Angie and Charlie have already seen the positive effect MyChart can have on Charlie’s care.  When visiting their family doctor in the community about a potential infection, Angie was concerned that Charlie’s white blood cell count was down slightly.  She was worried that it would be harder for him to fight off an infection.

Given her concerns, Angie used her cellphone to pull up Charlie’s bloodwork report from a test earlier that week.  The family doctor took a look at the results and said, ‘given his history with infections, we’re going to make sure we treat this today, instead of waiting to see how it develops.’

“Having access to the relevant records on my phone meant that our family doctor had the most updated information available,” said Angie.  “She didn’t have to wait for a paper lab result to be faxed over.”

Charlie is one of the millions of people who will benefit from MyChart. Last year alone, The Ottawa Hospital saw 1,174,879 walk-in patients and admitted 59,369 patients. That’s a lot of paper charts!  Thanks to MyChart, each patient can review their up-to-date health records in the palm of their hand. It’s a revolution in health care that will help patients feel more in control.

“It’s wonderful having these tools now because you really feel like you are steering the ship,” said Angie. 

 
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