By Andrea Arnold
Patients who’ve received care at a Northern Health hospital or urgent & primary care centre now have the ability to view their hospital based health information online at HealtheLife.
At this stage, the portal can be used to view upcoming appointments, lab tests (including COVID-19 testing) and imaging results. Bjorn Butow, Northern Health’s director, clinical information systems, says the hope is to allow people to play a more active role in their own health care. “It is similar to online banking,” he said. “It allows people to access information about what is going on with them, and allows them to manage their health care.”
The system is very secure, allowing only registered individuals access to their records. There are two ways to register:
When a person goes in for testing or imaging, their identity is confirmed prior to the procedure. Following the appointment, the individual will be given a PIN to use to self register on the website.
A person can register directly online without a prior appointment. A video enrollment session is required, along with ID verification through video.
This system also provides a way for children of aging parents (who have registered) to keep up to date on what is going on with their parents health, through proxy access, even from a distance.
Upon registration, patients are given the option to receive email notifications when results are available.
The HealtheLife patient portal allows people in rural communities the ability to check on city hospital based test results from home, without the need for another trip to the city. Following the viewing of the results, a consultation with their health care provider is recommended in order to understand what steps need to be taken.
With less appointments booked for people to receive their results, Doctors will have more appointment times available to see other patients. For those who still want to access health care through phone or face to face services, those are still available.
This is just the beginning. “We hope to provide, through the program, the ability to book appointments, provide easier access for video appointments, and allow for electronic completion of forms,” Butow said. Virtual visits with specialists prior to surgery are a possibility as well. This is a service he would like to see made available, especially for patients from rural communities.