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Sask. pilot program puts health-care info online
The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, February 16, 2016 11:37AM CST
Last Updated Tuesday, February 16, 2016 4:24PM CST
A pilot program is being launched in Saskatchewan that will allow people to view their personal health-care information online from anywhere in the world.
The Citizen Health Information Portal, or CHIP, program will let patients check their lab results, immunization history, pharmacy and hospital-visit history.
Health Minister Dustin Duncan says surveys have shown that patients engage more when they have more information.
"People want to have the ability to access their own information and their own records and not just rely on their health providers to give that information when they see fit," Duncan said Tuesday in Regina.
Duncan says British Columbia and Nova Scotia has limited access to such patient portals. He says Saskatchewan's will be more comprehensive because it covers more areas.
The health minister says the experience in other jurisdictions is that such programs have not increased the burden for physicians.
"Our hope is that will be not only advantageous for the patient, but also just the relationship between the patient and the provider so that everybody's really on the same page," said Duncan.
About 230 people have signed up so far, but the six-month pilot program will take about 1,000 participants.
Those people will be able to add medical information to their files, such as health metrics or reminders to take medication. They can also view their children's health-care information and ask their doctor or other health-care provider to look at their profile.
EHealth Saskatchewan, the government corporation overseeing the program, says CHIP could be of most benefit to people with chronic issues, such as diabetes, or people who access care in several different places.
About 85 per cent of Saskatchewan doctors are using electronic medical records, according to eHealth Saskatchewan.
Feedback from users will be sought throughout the six-month period, which ends in August. EHealth will then use the information to decide what changes, if any, need to be made as the program moves forward.
Patient Doreen McElree has been testing the program and says it alleviates anxiety about waiting for test results.
"You wait for that phone to ring. Was my test positive or negative? And it may never ring if it was negative," said McElree, 70. "And this way you know, 'oh I'm OK."'