“A tremendous sense of autonomy over your own care”, is how Roxanna Bennett describes her experience with Ontario Shores’ HealthCheck, the new patient portal.
Having been given the opportunity to try the new online portal which allows access to her complete health information in a private and secure way, Roxanna fully supports the tool.
“I am so excited about this portal because it allows me so much flexibility and freedom,” she shared.
Roxanna explains that she can contact her doctor about her prescription renewals at any time over the internet. “I don’t have to worry about tracking my doctor down; my request is simply logged in to the system when I need it to be.”
It is the sense of empowerment that stands out most for Roxanna. “Having access to this information about my visits and being able to make my own notes is very helpful in managing my own care. I can make notes about side effects that I am having from specific medications and my doctors will be able to see that and track it. I won’t have to rely on my memory when I go in for my next visit and I won’t forget things, as it is right there documented for me,” she adds.
Tara (Way back when): “I am purging everything I eat but I still feel fat.”
Psychiatrist (For only two weeks): “Well, you must be eating something because you’re not losing weight.”
Conversations like this should not happen - in general - but especially not with mental health professionals. Not only did I feel offended by this Psychiatrist’s ignorant comment, I felt alone. Feeling alone is a vulnerable and scary place in my mind – in all of our minds, I think. I no longer trusted this person with the thoughts and emotions that I had been hiding for so long. He had just validated (in my mind) that I was worthless and obviously fat.
As Erikson et. al (2014) stated in a recent journal article, “Openness meant being free to speak without fearing the consequences…” Not being able to have an open conversation has a snowball effect and can lead to more problems; where something seemingly small leads to something bigger again and again, causing the outcome to be somewhat disastrous.
Between the ages of 18 and 26, I was hospitalized ten different times while in my hometown of Halifax, Nova Scotia. During those hospital stays, I was seen as being depressed, anxious, hypo-manic, and even stoic. No one ever thought I was angry or confrontational, because I knew better.
It’s not that I wasn’t angry; I was furious. I was furious about the lack of recommended therapy compared to the abundance of prescribed medications. I was furious about the loss of my dignity and autonomy. I was enraged about the reductionist approach that stripped away my personhood, transforming what once was a bright young woman into a collection of pathologies.
However, far more than I was angry, I was afraid. I was afraid of what would be done with me or what would be taken away from me if I gave that anger a voice. I did not want my passes taken away, my visitors restricted, or to incite hostility from the staff, because they were the ones with the power. More than anything I feared being placed in “therapeutic quiet” (TQ), also known as seclusion.