Letter-to-the-editor

To the Editor:

In Nova Scotia, we are passionate about how our health care is delivered, accessed and managed. Yet, until recently, the fax machine has been the most common way for doctors to share information with each other, and patients still keep pieces of paper to keep track of important health information. In the meantime, text and email has become second nature in how we communicate with family and friends and online banking has become routine.

It’s time to look at new ways of working in the health system too. We are ready to innovate and have taken that first step.

We have introduced MyHealthNS, a secure online tool that connects doctors and patients. In doing that, we will increase access and convenience for patients, and put health care back into the hands of Nova Scotians. We are the first in Canada to offer this online tool provincewide.

Right now, Nova Scotians can sign up at MyHealthNS.ca to keep track of personal health information like immunizations, blood pressure, medications and allergies.

Feedback from patients is that this is an easy and convenient place to keep their health information organized, secure and accessible anytime from anywhere. Once you are registered online you will be ready for new features as they become available.

The first major feature that will be available across Nova Scotia in early 2017 is eResults.

This will allow family doctors registered with MyHealthNS to send their patients lab and diagnostic imaging results electronically. Patients who are also registered will be able to review the results online any time they need to, saving them a trip to the clinic to get the results. This will give people more control over their own health information and greater convenience overall. If the doctor feels that a test result is best shared in person, the clinic will call to ask the patient to come in for an appointment.

The health information systems at the QEII Health Sciences Centre, the IWK Health Centre, and other hospitals in the Halifax, Eastern Shore and West Hants areas are now set up to provide electronic results on MyHealthNS.

From young families with busy lives, to seniors who are now on the go more than ever, MyHealthNS is a convenient alternative to a doctor’s visit. It is simple and easy to use.

Thirty-five doctors and more than 6000 patients took part in the three year evaluation.

Patients say you don’t have to be tech savvy to manage your account.

Doctors see the benefits as well. Those involved in the pilot said sharing test results electronically is valuable or extremely valuable to their patients. Ninety-eight per cent of the patients who took part said they wanted to keep receiving their results online.

I am excited to see Nova Scotia taking the lead on e-health in this way, and I am pleased this will help Nova Scotians manage their own health care on their own time, and on their own terms.

As we continue to roll the system out across the province, I encourage all Nova Scotians to register for this exciting new tool. You can do so by visiting myhealthns.ca.

Nova Scotia Health Minister
Leo Glavine