Electronic health record pilot project attracts thousands
Two-year, $1.5-million pilot project coming to an end in March
The province says it's overwhelmed with the number of people that signed up for a pilot project to give patients online access to their health records, attracting thousands more than expected.
Alexa Thompson is one of 5,000 of people taking part in the $1.5-million pilot — $1 million of which was funded by the federal government.
Thompson makes appointments with her doctor online in seconds. She can also receive test results, ask her doctor questions, and even keep track of her blood pressure levels online.
"The odds of me actually picking up the phone and getting through on the first try are pretty limited. But this way I can send a message at midnight," said Thompson.
"She says she'll have an answer within two days but in fact I've never waited more than two hours."
Mary Russell is the pilot project's director for the Department of Health. She said the project is well worth it.
"It gets patients more involved in their health care, it helps them better understand their health and then better able to manage their own health," she said.
She said that saves the doctors time and the province money.
Nova Scotia is the first province in Canada to give patients this kind of access to their own health records.
But patients like Thompson may not have that access much longer.
The two-year pilot is ending in March. After that, the government has to decide whether to implement it across the province.
There are concerns putting the information online could make it easier to steal. But the province said it uses a high-tech security system — the same as the United States Department of Defence.
The software isn't just for patients, it also allows those caring for family members to have access as well.