British Columbia

Vancouver Island First Nation testing out electronic health records system

Four hundred members of the Cowichan Tribes First Nation on Vancouver Island are testing out an electronic health records system for the next 18 months.

Health minister hopes system could be used across province

Health Minister Terry Lake (left) took part in a blanket ceremony Tuesday to celebrate the new system. (Megan Thomas/CBC)

Four hundred members of the Cowichan Tribes on Vancouver Island are testing out an electronic health records system  — a model the health minister hopes can be expanded around the province.

The system was developed through several partners, including the First Nation's own technology company Mustimuhw Information Solutions Inc.

Patients can message their doctor directly and can also share their records with other healthcare providers such as physiotherapists or dentists.

"For so long patients have relied on physicians and their health care team to make a lot of decisions that they maybe weren't a part of," Health Minister Terry Lake said.

"This is really a 21st Century way of engaging patients and allowing them to be part of their circle of care."

Cowichan Tribes member Toni Williams is part of the electronic health records trial. With two young children, she says sharing information from doctor visits with other family members is a big help.

"I'm not expecting that everyone in my family is going to know our daughter's entire health history," she said. "We are able to pull it up on our phone, immediately, and have that information."

The new system is will be tested out over the next 18 months with 400 patients from the Cowichan Tribes.