More than 200,000 people in the Island Health region are experiencing the benefits of having quick, easy access to their personal health records and information through the MyHealth patient portal.
When Shirley Christensen returned home from Saanich Peninsula Hospital (SPH) following treatment for double pneumonia, she was able to review some of her personal health information on her MyHealth patient portal account.
Christensen, 68, is one of 217,000 residents in the Island Health region now enrolled in MyHealth. MyHealth allowed her to see results for X-rays, CT scans and bloodwork ordered while receiving care from multiple staff and hospitalists. Her interest in learning more about her hospital visit was piqued by the fact she did not present with any of the typical symptoms for pneumonia or for the urinary tract infection she was also diagnosed with during her stay at SPH.
“It was nice to come home and be able to check it all out and see where I was at,” Christensen said.
A long-time Victoria resident retired from a 26-year career with the BC Cancer Agency, Christensen was already using MyHealth after joining the platform on the advice of staff at the SPH Lab, where she gets regular bloodwork done. She checks results from frequent tests related to her heart health before reviewing them with her family doctor, as well as results following mammograms.
Close to a quarter of eligible residents in the Island Health region have now signed up for MyHealth, a secure online website launched in 2019 to offer patients and families convenient, 24/7 access to personal health information on care and services provided to them by Island Health.
Using MyHealth, patients and families can view laboratory results, medical imaging reports, scheduled appointments (if booked through Island Health’s electronic health record scheduling application), and a selection of physician-authored clinical documentation.
“As MyHealth surpasses this enrollment milestone, this means nearly 1 in 4 eligible residents in the Island Health region have quick, secure online access to their personal health information,” said Leah Hollins, Island Health Board Chair. “Having access to this information is empowering to patients and families who can take a more informed role in their own health care journey.”
Christine MacKinnon is a Patient Partner at Island Health working alongside the team tasked with improving and evolving MyHealth. She began her work when the portal launched and is excited to see how it has evolved. “I think one of the best things about the portal is that it allows people who don’t have family physicians to access their own results and information as an important reference,” MacKinnon said. “Access to your own personal health information helps you stay connected and to have a voice in your own care.”
Enrollment in MyHealth increased with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, as many people sought convenient access to lab test results, and has continued steadily since then, as staff and health care providers in Island Health facilities and primary care clinics encourage patients to enroll.
Strong partnerships between Island Health, family medicine practitioners, patients and their families have also led to increased enrollment, said Dr. Eric Shafonsky, Associate Chief Medical Information Officer and Physician Lead for MyHealth. “We are very grateful to Island Health staff along with physicians and staff in clinics and primary care centres who share information on MyHealth with patients and support them in getting enrolled.”
As MyHealth enrollment has grown, so have the features and functionality of the portal. Medical staff at Island Health can now release select clinical notes to their patients in MyHealth. Patients benefit from seeing notes shared with them after visiting Island Health care settings such as discharge notes following a hospital stay. As a result of her experience, Christensen said she is even more likely to recommend enrollment in the MyHealth patient portal.
Enroll in MyHealth online at www.islandhealth.ca/myhealth, by phone (1-844-844-2219), in-person at Island Health Laboratory and Medical Imaging locations, or at the central admitting desk at any of Island Health’s main hospitals. Once your own MyHealth account is created, you can request access to someone else’s MyHealth account if needed. To obtain proxy access in the care of a loved one please follow the instructions found on this web page under “Access Someone Else’s MyHealth Account.” See the MyHealth website, and Frequently Asked Questions for more information.