By Laura Keil
While B.C. residents have already had access to some health records online for years, a new portal called My Health Key means you can view those records and also book appointments, receive certain forms and files online, and, while still in development, eventually communicate back and forth with your health care providers.
Jess Rothenburger, project manager with the rural coordination centre of B.C., says Valemount is the first Northern Health clinic to offer My Health Key, an application designed by Bright Health. And while the roll-out has been slow, partly due to local staff shortages, they are now promoting the service and look forward to more people signing up.
Rothenburger says they intend to add more functionality as time goes on, adding things like proxy access for parents who want to grant access to their adult children, or the ability to send messages or ask questions to clinic staff through the portal.
Rothenburger admits that right now in B.C. health care it’s a “portal soup.”
“Patients have to go to different portals (i.e. Health Gateway or HealthELife) to see their information; the dream is for them to be able to access it all from one spot and that is the PHR (My Health Key).”
The My Health Key website is located at https://myhealthkey.brighthealth.ca but first patients must go in-person to the Valemount Health Centre and present photo ID and a personal email to sign up.
Rothenburger encourages more Valemount residents to try it out. He says there are thousands of patients using this in BC including clinics in Smithers, Prince George, Vernon and Golden.
Ky Leishner, Clinical Informatics Specialist with Northern Health, has been using My Health Key for his own health care.
“I always forget to call and book an appointment during clinic hours. Usually, the kids have gone to bed and it’s ‘Oh crap I need to make an appointment.’ Now I can just go online and book it when I remember it. I don’t need to wait for the clinic to be open.”
The website shows which time slots are available, and allows Valemount patients to book instantaneously.
“It’s the convenience factor of not having to phone or go in,” Rothenburger says.
My Health Key is totally free and extremely secure, he adds. He hopes people provide feedback on the service and around how to improve it. While people will not be able to view past medical records, they hope to be able to offer that in the future or allow people to import that information.
“We’re just starting but we’re hoping to get better and better.”
Current Health Portals
My Health Key (select clinics/doctors) https://myhealthkey.brighthealth.ca
- Online Booking with the clinic
- Appointment Reminders
- Online access to NHA Labs and Imaging (same as NHA ‘portal’)
- One Way Communication from the clinic to the patient (i.e. prescriptions, forms, requisitions, or any info)
- Links to connect for virtual clinic appointments
HealthELife portal (Northern Health)
- Lab results
- Imaging (xray, ultrasound and other)
- Appointments (hospital lab and medical imaging)
Health Gateway (Provincial)
- Covid 19 Test Results
- Immunization Records
- Health Visits