Nova Scotia

MyHealthNS online tool gets thumbs up from test patient

After three years, an online health information pilot project, involving 35 family doctors and more than 6,000 patients, is being rolled out in the rest of the province.

6,000 patients and 3 dozen doctors took part in the pilot project over the last 3 years

Richmond Campbell says despite being 'the least tech-savvy person you've ever met' he found the new online health information tool easy to use. (CBC)

A new online health tool that allows patients to track their own medical histories is getting a thumbs up from some of the people who used it in the pilot stage. 

MyHealthNS is a portal similar to online banking. It's been available to more than 6,000 patients in the Capital Health district since 2013. The province announced the rest of the province will get access to the system by early 2017. 

Richmond Campbell, 76,  was a citizen representative on the pilot program's steering committee and one of the test patients who used the service for the past three years. 

'Reduces anxiety'

"Well, it's all there. I can access it on my cell phone. So if I'm away from home, even downtown or visiting my grandkids who live in the States or travelling with my wife say, in Italy, something happens to me — it's immediately accessible," Campbell told CBC Halifax's Information Morning. 

The retired Dalhousie professor says as someone who is active in asking questions about his health, the tool helped him become more engaged. 

"It reduces a lot of anxiety and you're further involved in managing your own health," he said. "Each patient has a sense of power." 

Quicker test results 

Every month Campbell gets his blood checked which he's been doing for more than a decade. With the new tool, he didn't have to go in to see his doctor to get the test results. 

He says in the past, he often found himself calling multiple times to reach a nurse at a clinic and then waiting to find out what his counts were. 

"The difference is now, I just go online and there are the results." 

Technology easy to use

He says he found the system easy to navigate — from viewing what vaccinations he's had and what medications he's been prescribed, to finding out his test results.     

"I'm about the least tech-savvy person you've ever met. But I can do this. It's very, very easy to access my health records, access tests results, communicate with my doctor by sending a message online through a secure portal."

Campbell says one thing he would like to see is referrals to specialists that can be tracked online. He's been told that will become part of the service soon.

Patients at the IWK Health Centre, Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre, and other health-care sites in the Halifax, Eastern Shore and West Hants areas will be able to access the service now, with the rest of the province following early next year.

With files from Information Morning