In December, 2014, Ontario Shores partnered with Canada Health Infoway to launch the ‘Healthcheck’ Patient Portal with the aim to provide patients and caregivers access to their personal health information and promote patient engagement and partnerships in care.
To date there are 605 registered portal users at Ontario Shores. Of these users, 94 are ‘proxy users’, defined as family, friends, and caregivers. Feedback received from users includes that “Just having my own access has given me freedom as a patient”, and “it is an excellent tool to cultivate autonomy.”
A research article was recently published that shares the initial findings of a study aimed at evaluating the benefits of the HealthCheck Patient Portal. The article is titled ‘A Web-Based Patient Portal for Mental Health Care: Benefits Evaluation’, and the overall results provide implications for enabling active patient participation in their mental health care through the transparent access to their personal health information and recovery-oriented practices.
The study highlighted that the implementation of the portal system increased patient activation in care, organizational productivity and administrative efficiencies.
After 6-months, there was a statistically significant improvement in patient-reported empowerment and mental health well-being, which was measured using the Mental Health Recovery Measure (MHRM).
A 61% decrease in the number of requests for information (ROI) from the Health Information Management department was seen as patients now have direct access to their personal health information.
Appointment reminders are another key functionality of the portal system as users can log in and see upcoming appointment times with their clinicians. If plans change and a user is unable to attend their next appointment, they can request a new appointment time with their clinician. One user said that, “the system is very helpful for appointment reminders”, and this is apparent as within the first year of implementation portal users had a 9% decrease in missed appointments.
A link to the article, published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research can be found here, at: https://www.jmir.org/2016/11/e294/
A link to the full benefits evaluation report is also available on Canada Health Infoway’s website here, at: https://www.infoway-inforoute.ca/en/component/edocman/resources/reports/benefits-evaluation/3174-ontario-shores-healthcheck-patient-portal-benefits-evaluation-report?Itemid=101